WARNING – DISTRESSING DETAILS: Russia said today five senior prison officials have been fired after leaked videos reportedly captured the alleged torture and sexual assaults in jails
A 40 Gb “mega leak” of a series of barbaric clips including torture videos have emerged, allegedly depicting widespread rape and brutalisation of inmates in Russian jails.
The material is part of a leak which implicates The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, once headed by Vladimir Putin, and the country’s FSIN prison authorities.
The graphic images and footage – which the Mirror has chosen not to show due to its graphic nature – are described as a “torture conveyor belt” in jails where it is alleged rapists are deployed to break male inmates.
Russia said today that they had fired five senior prison officials and opened a slew of criminal investigations into alleged torture and sexual assaults at a jail in the Saratov region.
The firings included that of the director of the prison where the alleged abuse took place and the head of the regional prison service.
A shocking 40 Gb of video material, documents and photographs have been smuggled out of Russia showing the orchestrated abuse, according to anti-torture group Gulagu.Net.
One video highlights a naked man screaming in pain as he is tied to a bed and violated with a mop handle at a tuberculosis hospital in a jail in the city of Saratov in February 2020, it is alleged.
Separately, inmates compromised by the authorities are shown urinating on a fellow prisoner.
Acts of male rape are also shown amid claims that all civilised norms have broken down in the Russian prison system.
Guards tortured prisoners who were then forced to torture other inmates, it is alleged.
The horrific trove of rape, intimidation and violence material reportedly comes from jails in six Russian regions and will now be passed to the United Nations and Council of Europe for investigation.
The material was leaked by a Belarussian programmer jailed in Saratov who was used by the authorities to collate their sickening collection of torture videos filmed on prison issue camcorders, says the group.
The programmer, now released and seeking political asylum in the West, copied the material and carried it out of Russia, it is claimed.
Referring to US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, now living in exile in Russia, Vladimir Osechkin, who runs Gulagu.Net, said: “We call him our Belarusian Snowden.”
Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
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It was “the first time that human rights defenders have obtained such a colossal amount of information proving the systemic nature of torture in Russia”.
Osechkin says there is evidence that 200 inmates have been tortured and raped by FSB and FSIN agents in Russian penitentiaries, with 40 depicted on videos.
The prison service leadership had launched an investigation into the videos.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “If the authenticity of these materials is confirmed, then, of course, this is a reason for a serious probe.
“But first it’s necessary to quickly but calmly sort this out and establish (their) authenticity.”
Late on Tuesday, Colonel Alexei Fedotov, 55, head of the FSIN’s Saratov service, resigned.
“Fedotov drafted a letter of resignation. He is currently on vacation, from which he may not return to work,” a source told Interfax.
Russia’s prosecutor general’s office launched a probe.
But Osechkin, based in France, said: “The Russian authorities are being hypocritical and are doing everything they can to distance themselves from this torture conveyor belt (which) was created by FSIN and FSB generals – and was used to suppress the will of convicts.”
He has vowed to release more material in the coming days.
The videos “prove” that FSB and FSIN operatives use rape and other torture to force the cooperation and compliance of inmates, he said.
They “themselves become part of the torture machine” by snitching on other inmates or by signing false testimonies prepared by investigators, said RFE/RL’s Russian Service.