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Former Warden Of Yaroslavl Prison Detained In High-Profile Investigations

Dmitry Nikolayev (left) is being investigated in cases involving torture.
Dmitry Nikolayev (left) is being investigated in cases involving torture.

The former warden of an infamous prison in the Russian city of Yaroslavl, some 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow, has been arrested in high-profile torture probes, a human rights group says.

According to a February 18 statement by the Public Verdict NGO, Dmitry Nikolayev, a former warden of the Corrective Colony No. 1 in Yaroslavl, was detained by the officers of the Investigative Committee in torture cases in several penitentiaries in the city.

Several former and current inmates are regarded as victims in the investigations, the rights group says.

The probes were launched after Public Verdict in July made public a 2017 video via the Novaya Gazeta newspaper which showed at least 17 guards beating an inmate who lies on a table in colony No. 1 in Yaroslavl.

The video caused a public outcry. Russian law enforcement authorities arrested at least 12 guards at that prison and announced that prior complaints by inmates across Russia would be investigated.

Another probe was launched in November into the alleged torture of 25 inmates in a second prison in the Yaroslavl region.

The cases have brought into the spotlight what activists say is the widespread abuse and torture of Russian prison inmates.

Valery Maksimenko, deputy head of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), said in November that the country needs more prisons to hold police officers, prison guards, and other law enforcement agents who have been convicted of crimes.

In Russia and some other former Soviet republics, convicted former law enforcement officers, prison guards, and prosecutors serve their terms in detention facilities that are separate from the regular prisons.

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