Saratov investigators launch seven criminal cases following video leak evidencing prisoner abuse
In a statement issued on Wednesday, October 6, the Russian Investigative Committee Department in the Saratov region announced that it is investigating a total of seven criminal cases in connection with reports of physical and sexual abuse against inmates at a local prison hospital.
This comes after the human rights group Gulagu.net reported that it had obtained more than 40 gigabytes of video evidence showing Russian security officials torturing and sexually abusing prison inmates across the country.
On Tuesday, October 5, Gulagu.net released three video clips that allegedly show the rape of three inmates at a prison hospital in the Saratov region. Gulagu.net published additional video evidence on YouTube on Wednesday, showing the abuse of inmates at a prison tuberculosis hospital in the Saratov region, as well as at Correctional Colony No. 4 in Belgorod, and Correctional Colony No. 6 in Kamchatka.
Gulagu.net founder Vladimir Osechkin wrote on Facebook that this footage, “shows that grave and especially grave violent crimes were committed against inmates regularly, which were carefully covered up.” “Before we went public, as yet, not a single sadist, kapo [prisoner functionary], or FSIN officer has been charged for the commission [of these crimes],” Osechkin underscored.
Of the seven cases under investigation in the Saratov region, five were opened on charges of sexual assault, and two were opened on charges of abuse of power. That statement from investigators said that these crimes were committed in relation to four inmates at Regional Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1, a medical institution run by the Saratov region’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) department.
In turn, the FSIN issued a statement saying that the tuberculosis hospital’s chief Pavel Gatsenko, had been fired, along with the heads of the facility’s operations and security departments, and their deputy.
The statement also said that documents were filed on September 22 to dismiss the FSIN’s department head in the Saratov region, Alexey Fedotov, “for serious miscalculations and in operational and official activities.” Earlier, Interfax reported that, according to sources, Fedotov handed in his resignation on October 5.