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Novaya Gazeta Publishes New Torture Videos From Notorious Russian Prison

Sergei Kiselyov / Moskva News Agency

New video footage claiming to show the brutal torture of Russian inmates, one of whom died shortly after the footage was filmed, has surfaced, the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Novaya Gazeta says the two videos came from the same prison colony where gruesome leaked footage of guards torturing inmates sparked a national scandal and arrests of prison officials in 2018. They are the eighth and ninth videos of torture to surface from Yaroslavl region Penal Colony-1, the newspaper said.

In the first video, which dates from August 2016, a prisoner who asked that his identity be kept private is seen being beaten on his buttocks and legs by guards with truncheons. The inmate was hospitalized for two weeks after his release from prison, Novaya Gazeta reported.

The second video, from April 2017, shows guards beating Georgian citizen Vazha Bochorishvili with truncheons on the buttocks and legs as he lies naked and face-down on a table, screaming for them to stop. After guards pull him off the table, he collapses unconscious to the floor.

Following these events, Bochorishvili’s family members told Novaya Gazeta that he was initially placed in solitary confinement and then hospitalized a few days later, where he died on May 9. Doctors diagnosed him with severe liver damage and trauma and the authorities never launched a criminal case into his death, the newspaper reported.

The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN)'s Yaroslavl region headquarters later said it has launched an inquiry into the videos. The Yaroslavl region's Investigative Committee has also opened a criminal case into abuse of power, its press service told Interfax.

The 2018 torture videos from the Yaroslavl region Penal Colony-1 sparked widespread public outcry within Russia over the country’s brutal prison system as well as UN condemnation and several prison officials being dismissed or charged with abuse of power.

Novaya Gazeta obtained the latest videos from the Public Verdict human rights foundation, which has been labeled a “foreign agent” in Russia.

A 2019 poll said that one in 10 Russians have been subjected to what they perceived to be torture by law enforcement officials.

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