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New Videos Reveal More Evidence Of Torture At Russian Prison

One of the newly released videos by Novaya Gazeta shows several guards forcing inmates to run a gauntlet.
One of the newly released videos by Novaya Gazeta shows several guards forcing inmates to run a gauntlet.

Videos published online by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper on August 23 reveal fresh evidence of inmates being tortured and abused by guards at a notorious Russian penal colony, Corrective Colony No. 1, to the northeast of Moscow.

The release follows the publication by the newspaper in July of a video showing an inmate being beaten by at least 17 guards at the penal colony in the city of Yaroslavl -- a video that caused a public outcry across the country and led to the arrest of 12 guards.

Officials from Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service said the videos pushed by Novaya Gazeta were discovered during an internal investigation and were being reviewed by authorities.

One of the newly released videos by Novaya Gazeta shows several guards forcing inmates to run a gauntlet.

Some of the guards appear to have been among the guards who appeared in the July video, while others are wearing masks on their faces.

Yaroslavl's Corrective Colony No. 1
Yaroslavl's Corrective Colony No. 1

The guards are seen standing in rows on both sides of a corridor talking about the necessity to "punish" prisoners. Several inmates are then forced to run between them while the guards kick them and beat them with their fists and batons.

The video also shows an officer and then a voice is heard saying "all cameras there have been switched off." The voice also orders, "Do not forget to switch them back on [later] and punish them tougher."

Several other inmates are forced to run the gauntlet while guards taunt them by saying: "Ground squirrels are running," "They are running badly," and "We need to make them run faster."

A group of inmates is then forced to return and run the gauntlet again. Among the people beating them is a man wearing a blue T-shirt and gloves instead of a prison guard's uniform. His face is briefly shown.

A voice can be heard addressing the man as "Sardor," and saying: "Be tougher with these ones. Switch off the recording, OK? Switch off the recording."

That group of inmates is taken to a room at the end of the corridor, followed by prison guards with rubber batons. On their way, one prisoner is told to give them a bedsheet and to dampen it with water.

It is not clear from the video what the bedsheet was used for. But Novaya Gazeta pointed out that the guards used a wet, white material in the July video to cover the head of their victim and lessen the sound of his screams.

Two other videos revealed by Novaya Gazeta last only a few seconds but also reveal the brutal treatment of prisoners.

A nine-second video shows a shirtless, shaking prisoner faint when asked: "Do you have complaints regarding these workers of the Corrections Service Directorate?"

After he faints, multiple bruises are seen on his back.

The other short video shows another trembling, shirtless man who was identified by Novaya Gazeta as Revaz Mgoyan.

Mgoyan shakes his head and breathes heavily when he is asked: "What do you want to say regarding me, convict Mgoyan? Do you want to apologize?"

When Mgoyan does not answer, other guards shout: "For how long will it last?" and "Does he think we will beg him?" An order is then heard to "switch off" the camera.

Novaya Gazeta says Mgoyan has legally filed a complaint alleging that he was tortured in the Yaroslavl prison. But investigators have rejected the allegations, saying there was no evidence to prove he was tortured.

All the videos were provided to Novaya Gazeta by the Public Verdict human rights organization, suggesting the latest videos were shot in December 2016.

Amid a public outcry over the video published in July, Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service announced it will investigate all complaints from 2017 about alleged violence by prison guards across Russia.

United Nations human rights experts have urged Russian authorities to prosecute cases of torture in prisons and labor camps, including beatings, electric shocks, and suffocation.

With reporting by Novaya Gazeta
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