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The order to torture a Russian inmate in Yaroslavl allegedly came from his warden

Meduza
Dmitry Nikolayev (left), former acting warden of Yaroslavl's IK-1 prison during a <a href="http://www.76.fsin.su/news/detail.php?ELEMENT_ID=342879" target="_blank">visit</a> to the facility with Russian actor Andrey Merzlikin in September 2017
Dmitry Nikolayev (left), former acting warden of Yaroslavl's IK-1 prison during a visit to the facility with Russian actor Andrey Merzlikin in September 2017

The decision to torture inmate Evgeny Makarov at a prison in Yaroslavl on June 29, 2017, apparently came straight from the top. According to preliminary evidence gathered by investigators (obtained by journalists at Novaya Gazeta and Dozhd), warden Dmitry Nikolayev gave the order after a “final straw” incident with Makarov in his cell. The warden apparently wanted the beating recorded on video so he could be sure that his order was carried out.

Several guards have testified that Makarov had a bad reputation with the prison’s staff, violating the rules, insulting guards, smoking where prohibited, and “filing all possible complaints.” When Nikolayev ordered Makarov’s “educational work,” some guards going off duty actually stuck around, just to get in a few punches.

Several of the guards also told investigators that they knew the torture was illegal, but they feared losing their jobs, if they refused Nikolayev’s orders that “everyone beat Makarov.” At least one guard claims to have tried to resign after the incident, but he says he was “convinced to stay.”

Makarov’s lawyers want investigators to question Dmitry Nikolayev, several other prison staff, and Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova and her regional representative, both of whom met with Makarov after he was tortured.

On July 20, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a 10-minute video showing more than a dozen guards torturing an inmate at a prison in Yaroslavl. In response, federal authorities have arrested 11 of the guards from the video and placed a 12th official under house arrest. Allegations of prison torture have also emerged in Bryansk, Transbaikal, and Kaliningrad.