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The former mayor of Yaroslavl says, yes, Russia's prison system is awash in torture and rape

Source: Meduza

Evgeny Urlashov, the former mayor of Yaroslavl now imprisoned on controversial bribery charges, wrote in a letter published on August 3 by the local website 76.ru that torturing inmates is an everyday occurrence at prisons and jails across the country.

“They beat [prisoners] mercilessly with clubs, fists, and legs. They make them squat for four to eight hours, no matter their age or health,” Urlashov wrote, commenting on a video released last month that shows more than a dozen guards torturing inmate Evgeny Makarov at a prison in Yaroslavl. The former mayor says there were so-called “press huts” at the city’s Number 1 pretrial detention center back in 2016, where inmates were tortured into confessing to whatever charges they faced. Some were beaten and others were even raped, Urlashov says.

In August 2016, Evgeny Urlashov was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for extorting large bribes. In March 2018, he appealed to President Putin for a pardon. Last month, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a 10-minute video showing 17 prison guards torturing inmate Evgeny Makarov. Since the video was released to the public, federal officials have arrested 12 of the guards who took part in the incident.