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The lawyer who leaked a video showing prison torture flees Russia after disgruntled guards come after her with threats

Meduza

Irina Biryukova, the lawyer working for the human rights group “Public Verdict” who turned over prison torture footage to Novaya Gazeta last week, has fled Russia after receiving threats. The organization says she also appealed to Russian law enforcement agencies, asking for state protection for herself and her family. In her letter to Federal Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin, Biryukova said several of the guards who appear in the torture video have threatened to take revenge against her for outing them to the public.

On July 20, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published video footage received from Biryukova showing the torture of an inmate named Evgeny Makarov at a prison in Yaroslavl. The footage was recorded in June 2017. Though prison officials and local investigators refused to prosecute or punish the guards following earlier complaints, almost immediately after Novaya Gazeta published the video, federal investigators opened a criminal case under Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code: abuse of authority using violence.

The prison in Yaroslavl where Makarov was tortured has since fired 17 employees who appear in the video, and investigators have detained six of these men on criminal charges.