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Inmate Dies in Russia After Being Tortured in 'De Facto Murder,' Activists Say

Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

An inmate has died in a Russian prison as a result of torture, activists have reported, in what they say was a "de facto murder."

Several leaked videos showing prisoner abuse over the past year have led to a mass outcry over torture and nationwide inspections to root out violence.

Alexei Sidyakin, who was sentenced in 2018 to three years behind bars for calling in a false bomb threat, died at age 29 in a Yaroslavl detention center north of Moscow on Friday, the prisoners' rights project said.

Prison officials allegedly pressured doctors not to document the numerous signs of torture on Sidyakin’s body, said Sunday, citing doctors and his family members.

An unidentified source within the detention center’s administration accused its leadership and other employees of destroying evidence of “Sidyakin’s de facto murder,” said.

“Prison service employees essentially tried to hide this emergency for fear of inspections and new media scandals,” Vladimir Osechkin, the founder of, wrote in an open letter to Russian officials, the UN and Europe’s top rights court.

The Yaroslavl region branch of Russia’s Federal Prison Service (FSIN) said Sidyakin died in the hospital almost a month after attempting to take his own life in his cell.

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