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Former Russian Prison Guards Jailed For Prisoners' Deaths

Former prison guards from a labor camp in the Chelyabinsk region on trial for the deaths of prisoners
CHELYABINSK, Russia, -- Eight former Russian prison guards have been jailed for up to 10 years after being found guilty of beating four prisoners to death, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The eight were among 14 former guards at Kopeisk Labor Camp No. 1 to be sentenced on May 27 by the Chelyabinsk Regional Court.

One was jailed for nine years and seven received 10-year jail terms.

The six others received suspended sentences, as did four regional penitentiary system officials found guilty of trying to cover up the crime.

The court found that on May 31, 2008, the 14 prison guards deliberately and systematically set about beating 12 newly arrived convicts, four of whom died as a result.

General Vladimir Zhidkov, then head of the Federal Penitentiary Control Directorate (GUFSIN) in Chelyabinsk Oblast, was found guilty of trying to cover up the crime.

He received a five-year suspended sentence, as did former GUFSIN Security Department head Andrei Afanasyev, former GUFSIN Operative Department head Andrei Shilin, and former prison camp director Vadim Valeyev. All four were barred from occupying any official posts in GUFSIN structures for two years.

It is the first time such senior penitentiary officials have been sentenced in connection with the death of prison inmates.

Read more in Russian here