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Russian Prison Warden Faces Probe After Video Surfaces of Inmate Being Beaten

Ivan Savelyev has been identified as one of two men shown kicking and punching a cornered inmate in surveillance footage published last week.

Russia's prison system is facing tighter scrutiny. Sergei Kiselyov / Moskva News Agency

Authorities have opened a criminal case into abuse of authority after a prison warden was caught on video beating an inmate in northern Russia, investigators said Monday.

Russia’s prison system has faced tighter scrutiny since the summer of 2018, when revelations of torture prompted nationwide inspections and dozens of legal cases. On Oct. 8, President Vladimir Putin replaced the head of Russia’s Federal Prison Service (FSIN) after his seven-year stint ended.

Ivan Savelyev has been identified as one of two men shown kicking and punching a cornered inmate in surveillance footage published late last week. Savelyev, 32, was appointed as head of the IK-9 penal colony in the city of Petrozavodsk 1,000 kilometers north of Moscow in February this year.

The Investigative Committee branch in Russia’s republic of Karelia said it had opened a criminal case into violent abuse of authority after the video’s publication. The charge carries a prison sentence of up to three years.

Investigators said that the video was filmed in February 2014, when Savelyev was a deputy warden. The Investigative Committee did not identify Savelyev by name and did not say how many people it suspects of abusing their authority.

“This employee will certainly be fired, without question,” FSIN’s deputy chief Valery Maximenko told the RBC news website Saturday. The U.S.-funded RFE/RL’s regional affiliate reported Monday that Savelyev had already been dismissed.

Savelyev had sought to sue Mediazona and the U.S.-funded Current Time news channel for libel last month after the outlets published reports describing cases of torture at his prison. 

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