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Russian inmate whose torture led to prison employees’ conviction found dead in cell after apparent suicide

Source: Meduza

Takhirzhon Bakiev, a Russian inmate who was tortured and abused by prison guards in 2021, has reportedly been found dead in his cell in Irkutsk. According to the Telegram channel Zapravka 38, he died by suicide.

Bakiev’s sister confirmed his death to journalists from Sibir.Realii, RFE/RL’s Siberian affiliate. She said that Federal Penitentiary Service employees called her on February 6 and asked her to “come and pick up the body.”

The regional prison authorities told the outlet People of Baikal that there “was a suicide” on February 4 but did not specify who died.

Human rights advocates published a letter written by Bakiev before his death. In it, he asked for help and said he “can’t manage on [his] own”:

My spine is injured, my intestines are torn, I have a colostomy bag on my stomach, my psyche is shattered. [...] Please help. I can’t manage on my own anymore. I don’t want to die here with the words that I did it myself.

Takhirzhon Bakiev was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2019 on weapons theft charges. In January 2021, the human rights watchdog reported that prison staff had restrained Bakiev with tape while other inmates beat him and raped him with a broomstick. In 2023, three former prison employees were sentenced to five years in prison in connection with the case.

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