Russian Prosecutors Open Criminal Investigation Into Torture At Prison Hospital

Russian prosecutors in the souther region of Rostov have opened a criminal investigation into the torture of inmates at a prison hospital, local rights activists said.

Igor Omelchenko, the chairman of the local Public Monitoring Commission, told Meduza news agency that the case was opened in September and focuses on the torture of prisoners at Interregional Tuberculosis Hospital No. 19.

Omelchenko said he was questioned by investigators on November 5 as a witness in the case and said that more than 60 victims are willing to testify in court.

Natalya Merkulova, the chairwoman of the commission, said that prisoners were tied to their bed for days. Russia law only permits prisoners to be tied down when they are receiving a medical injection.


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Their organization first came forward with concerns about the torture of prisoners at the tuberculosis hospital in September 2020, but Omelchenko said the former regional prosecutor refused to open a case.

A new prosecutor took office in February and agreed to open a criminal case.

In a recent post on its Instagram page, the commission blamed the atmosphere of torture on the previous prison leadership and claimed that officers and workers who took part in the mistreatment were fired.

The investigation in Rostov comes amid an explosive revelation of endemic torture in Russia’s prison system.

A former inmate who was allowed to work with a penitentiary’s computer system downloaded dozens of videos of torture at various prisons in Russia and distributed them to media.

He is currently seeking asylum in France after Russia issued a warrant for his arrest.