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Russia Launches Probe Into Hazing Of Soldier Behind Shooting Spree

Ramil Shamsutdinov's father, who visited his son (pictured) in custody in November, said he opened fire because he had been bullied.

Russian authorities have launched a probe into the alleged bullying of a conscript who shot dead eight military personnel and wounded two more in October, his lawyer says.

"The military investigative directorate of the Investigative Committee is investigating a bullying case in which [Ramil] Shamsutdinov is registered as a victim," lawyer Ruslan Nagiyev said on December 17.

Hazing in the Russian Army has been under focus of human rights organizations for years.

In recent years, there were many photos and video footage inadvertently posted online by members of the Russian military showing the bullying of young recruits.

Private Shamsutdinov opened fire on October 25 during a watch shift in a unit located in the Zabaikalye region in Siberia. He was arrested and charged with killing more than two persons.

Nagiyev quoted Shamsutdinov as saying he had been "regularly beaten and tortured while serving in his unit."

"Before the shooting spree, Shamsutdinov did not sleep for three days because...officers did not allow him to sleep and threatened to put his head in a toilet," the lawyer added.

Shamsutdinov's father, Salimzhan Shamsutdinov, who visited his son in custody in November, said that the young recruit opened fire because he was bullied.

Investigators have said that by sending Shamsutdinov on watch duty, the officers violated an order from Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who banned using conscripts in military missions and watch duties that last more than three days.

According to this order, only personnel serving on a contractual basis can be used for such missions.

With reporting by MBKh Media