18 Russian prison officers fired over chilling clips of torture behind bars

Follow RT on Eighteen Russian correctional officers have been dismissed after a series of leaked videos purporting to reveal sexual and physical abuse at a prison hospital in the region of Saratov sparked outrage. Some are being prosecuted.

Speaking to local media on Wednesday, Anton Efarkin, the acting head of the prison service for the area around the southwestern Russian city, said that officials were taking action against those responsible for mistreating inmates.

“To date, five criminal cases have already been initiated, 18 employees have been dismissed from their roles for breaches, and 11 people have faced the strictest possible disciplinary proceedings,” the prison chief explained. “We’re doing we can to understand what went on and to come to the appropriate conclusions. I’m certain this won’t happen again in the future.”

In October, a series of videos released by human rights group Gulagu.net which showed the alleged sickening torture at a tuberculosis facility operated by Saratov’s penal service, led to four prison officers being fired. The footage, purportedly shot by guards for blackmail reasons, showed inmates being penetrated with objects, beaten and forced to engage in sexual activity for the camera.

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At the time, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that “if the authenticity of these materials is confirmed, then of course it is a pretext for a serious investigation.” The director of the country’s federal prison service moved to dismiss Pavel Gatsenko, the head of the Saratov hospital where the incidents are said to have taken place.

However, Vladimir Osechkin, the founder of Gulagu.net, told RT that there were still more revelations to come and that videos taken from a leaked drive would implicate a number of other jails.

Earlier on Wednesday, Osechkin’s group released another clip from the Saratov tuberculosis facility. Responding to journalists’ questions on the video, Peskov confirmed that investigations had already been underway and would take it into account. “Checks are taking place, the system has responded. New information will certainly also be considered,” the Kremlin official said.

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