- The rape and abuse videos were recorded by the prison’s employees to be used as blackmail
- The prisoner rights group said it has uncovered documents pertaining to torture in other Russian prisons
- Russia has declared the former inmate who leaked the videos as wanted
A new leaked video of a Russian jail in the Saratov region showed at least five inmates being abused and raped inside a “torture chamber.”
The footage showed the inmates being urinated on and raped by male prisoners in OT-B-1, a prison hospital in the Saratov region dubbed as Russia’s “conveyor belt of torture,” according to prisoner rights group Gulagu.net.
The prisoner rights group said the prisoners were subjected to abuse — including being violated with a blunt object — to force them to make false confessions. The orderlies and caretakers at the prison hospital, which Gulagu.net called “sadists,” also blackmailed the prisoners with the footage and ordered them to abuse other prisoners or become informants.
The rape and abuse had allegedly been filmed by the prison’s employees and were sent back to the Federal Prison Service (FSIN) and FSB spy agency to be archived. Many videos were later used as blackmail.
The prisoner rights group also said that the senior members of the FSIN and FSB were aware of the abuse being carried out at the prison hospital, noting that the operation may have been going on for as long as a decade.
“It is obvious that an organized criminal community has been operating in the services of the FSIN and FSB for a long period of more than 10 years, which paralyzed the normal activities of the penitentiary system and turned a number of FSIN institutions into torture centers,” the prisoner rights group wrote on their website, as translated using Google.
Gulagu.net said it is actively working to uncover similar operations in prisons across Russia, adding that it has since collected “hundreds of documents and new video files” depicting torture in FSIN institutions.
The Russian government has blocked its residents from accessing Gulagu.net. Vladimir Osechkin, the site’s founder, is currently in hiding in France.
Anton Yefarkin, head of the Saratov prison service, said 18 officials have been fired in connection with the scandal. At least 11 officials are also facing “the strictest” disciplinary measures.
The videos were leaked by Sergei Savelyev, a Belarusian former inmate of the jail who had been ordered to archive the footage. The Russian interior ministry had declared him wanted for leaking the prison torture videos, according to Reuters.
The footage has since been made private on the prisoner rights group’s YouTube channel.