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Exiled Russian Activist Added To Wanted List After Sharing New Prison-Abuse Videos

Vladimir Osechkin
Vladimir Osechkin

Russian authorities have added the founding leader of a human rights group that recently released a second batch of videos purportedly showing torture and rape at a prison hospital to the country's list of wanted criminals.

Vladimir Osechkin's name appeared on the wanted persons registry of Russia's Interior Ministry on November 11, two days after his organization released a second batch of videos that Osechkin says were recorded in the OTB-1 tuberculosis infirmary between July 2015 and September 2020.

The ministry's registry says Osechkin, who has lived in France since 2015, was added "again" because he is suspected of an unspecified crime.

In July 2020, he was briefly put on the fugitives list after a Moscow court issued an arrest warrant for him on unspecified fraud charges.

Last month, Osechkin said obtained a large batch of videos showing prison inmates being tortured in order to coerce them to cooperate with Federal Security Service (FSB) and prison-service (FSIN) officers.

Videos released by Osechkin in October sparked a public outcry that led to the resignation of the chief of the FSIN's directorate in Saratov and the firing of several senior prison officials in the city.

More than 400 inmates later made statements alleging they had been tortured in the prison hospital.

Osechkin has said the videos were provided by a former prison inmate and an IT expert, Belarusian national Syarhey Savelyeu.

Savelyeu fled to France last month, where he applied for political asylum.

Russia issued an arrest warrant, accusing Savelyeu of "illegal access to digital information." But on November 11, prosecutors withdrew the charges and stopped the probe against Savelyeu.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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