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Siberian Prison Officials Detained Over Alleged Torture Of Inmates

A riot broke out at a prison in Angarsk, Irkutsk, in April 2020.
A riot broke out at a prison in Angarsk, Irkutsk, in April 2020.

IRKUTSK, Russia -- Top officials at two penitentiaries in the Russian city of Irkutsk have been detained after probes were launched into the alleged torture and rape of two inmates.

Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service's (FSIN) branch in the Siberian region of Irkutsk said on March 3 that the warden of Correctional Colony No. 6 and the chief of the operations department of Detention Center No. 1 in Irkutsk had been taken into custody.

According to the statement, the warden was detained over "unlawful actions by inmates against inmate Bakiev," while the officer from the detention center was arrested over "unlawful actions by inmates against inmate Ondar."

The FSIN launched probes in February against an unspecified number of guards and 10 inmates who allegedly tortured and raped an inmate with Central Asian roots, Tahirjon Bakiev, at the Correctional Colony No 6.

The rights group reported in December 2020 that another inmate, an ethnic Tuvinian, Kezhik Ondar, was tortured and raped in Detention Center No 1.

At the time, the FSIN said that wardens at the two facilities had been suspended as preliminary investigations began into the reports.’s founder, Vasily Osechkin, told RFE/RL on February 25 that some of the inmates had confessed to beating and torturing other inmates and testified that they did so at the direction of guards at the facility.

Bakiev and Ondar initially served their terms at the Correctional Colony No. 15 in the city of Angarsk in the Irkutsk region. In April 2020, inmates at that penitentiary staged a large riot protesting what they claimed were incidents of torture.

After the riot, many of the inmates were transferred to other prisons in the region.

Human rights groups have cited some of the inmates as saying that they faced beatings and torture after they were transferred to other prisons, where guards used other inmates who agreed “to cooperate” with the administration to force them to confess to organizing the riot.

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

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