A newly published video has shown scenes of alleged prisoner abuse outside Moscow months after leaked bodycam footage of prison torture sparked a nationwide investigation.
Prison officials have been punished across Russia in the months after a leaked video showed an inmate being tortured by guards in Yaroslavl region north of Moscow.
The latest two-minute smartphone video depicts three bald men holding down a fourth half-naked man on a mattress trying to get him to divulge information. One of the men appears to ram a wooden rod between the man’s buttocks as the loud sounds of a television drown out his screams.
“What are you, scared?” one of the abusers is heard saying.
Moscow region’s 360 TV news broadcaster, which shared the video on Wednesday, said the footage was filmed in a local pre-trial detention center sometime last year.
The outlet identified one of the perpetrators as Roman Novikov, 36, who was sentenced to 8.5 years in a maximum-security prison in August 2017 for a murder committed in 2010. It reported that Novikov had been released on parole and may be working as a fitness instructor in the Moscow suburb of Balashikha.
“That handle didn’t hurt anyone’s anything. It was only squeezed in between the buttocks,” he told 360 TV.
The alleged abuser told the broadcaster that he was transferred and eventually released thanks to the filmed video. Novikov said officials at the pre-trial detention center in the town of Noginsk instruct prisoners to perform tasks, including getting confessions out of fellow inmates, in exchange for favorable treatment.
“Your video is incomplete. The part where it’s clearly stated who this is being done for – complete with ranks, posts and the objective – is missing,” he said.
“There was no torture of prisoners whatsoever… This is a staged video shot specifically for the detention center’s leadership,” Novikov told 360 TV.
The broadcaster said it plans to hand over the footage to investigators and the national prison service.