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Russian Prison Guards Convicted in Nationwide Crackdown on Torture

Sergei Krasnoukhov / TASS

Prison guards across Russia have been convicted of ignoring the beatings and torture of inmates, days after a prison torture video sparked a national outcry.

Investigations into torture have surged since footage leaked last month of guards beating Yevgeny Makarov at a penal colony northeast of Moscow in 2017. The video’s release led to the dismissal and arrest of several guards linked to the incident, while the Federal Prison Service has vowed to conduct mass inspections of alleged torture in prisons.

A court in the city of Magadan in Russia’s Far East sentenced three correctional officers on Wednesday for ignoring the torture of an inmate by fellow convicts in 2015-2016.

“As a result of these crimes, the victim developed a mental disorder that medical experts said caused serious harm to health,” the Magadan region’s branch of the Investigative Committee said Wednesday.

In a separate case in the Vladimir region, east of Moscow, prosecutors said six pre-trial detention center employees were charged with abuse of power after a 2017 murder case shed light on a torture cell housed on its premises.

The court said that inmates had been subject to "physical and psychological violence for the purpose of self-incrimination" in one of the pre-trial detention center's cells on the orders of the prison administration.

Four more guards were detained at Yaroslavl Penal Colony 1, the correctional facility where Makarov’s beating was filmed, a regional court spokeswoman told Interfax on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, prisoners in Siberia’s Zabaikalsky region have accused at least five correctional officers of beating them after Russia’s quarterfinals loss during the World Cup in July.

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