News

Brutality Behind Russian Prison Walls Exposed

Disturbing video of sadistic prison brutality has emerged in Russia. Authorities there do not dispute the images, but claim they are from the early 1990s. Russian human-rights activists say the violence occurred more recently. VOA Moscow Correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports no dispute over a separate recording that shows a mass inmate protest against harsh prison conditions.

The video begins with barking dogs and an armored vehicle accompanying scores of riot police in flak jackets as they enter Penal Colony Number 2 near the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg.

One policeman punches a prisoner in the face; others mercilessly and repeatedly beat inmates with clubs, or kick them with heavy combat boots. It is brutal, indiscriminate, and potentially lethal punishment not permitted by any Russian legislation or court.

VOA contacted Russia's Federal Department of Sentence Enforcement, whose spokesman said its director, Yuri Kalinin, does not deny the abuse, but says it occurred in the early 1990s.

Human-rights advocates say the footage is believed to be from 2006 and only recently appeared on the Internet. It was obtained and circulated by the Moscow-based Foundation for the Defense of Prisoner Rights.

A member of Russia's Public Movement For Human Rights, Evgeniy Khlov, says the beatings were taped by prison officials to intimidate new prisoners.

Khlov says the people who brought the video to public attention are brave, self-assured people. He notes that the Internet makes it possible to distribute any kind of information to any part of the globe.

The entire video, a disturbing six-minute clip misspelled as Yekaterinaburg Prison Camp, has been posted on You Tube.

Evgeniy Khlov says responsibility for the violence is difficult to determine, but that it is most likely initiated by local prison officials, not on Kremlin orders. Khlov says some Russian prison administrators, many of them former soldiers, appear to have declared war on what they consider to be criminal ideology among inmates.

The activist says administrators feel the war against criminals compels them to torture, humiliate, and belittle those prisoners who adhere to criminal traditions.

The prison video also indicates authorities harass inmates by destroying their meager possessions. Beds are indiscriminately upended, personal effects are plundered, and conveniences such as chairs are broken.

Ruslan Rusakov, a former inmate at the Yekaterinburg facility, is shown on the video claiming that prisoners are also subjected to sleep deprivation.

Rusakov says prisoners are forced to clean floors and corridors, to run back and forth through the night before being permitted to sleep just five minutes before a 6:00AM reveille. Rusakov calls it total lawlessness, adding that prisoners are not considered human.

Activist Evgeniy Khlov says his organization continues to receive hundreds of letters from prisoners and their families complaining of human-ights violations while in detention.

Meanwhile, another video has emerged from Penal Colony Number Five in Russia's Amur Region, about 5,000 kilometers east of Moscow near the Manchurian border. Prisoners there used razors to cut their wrists in a protest against harsh prison conditions.

The prosecutor's office in Amur confirmed the incident to VOA and in a letter to the Foundation for the Defense of Prisoner Rights. Russian human-rights activists say the protest took place in January 2008, the prosecutor's letter says 2007. Both agree 142 prisoners cut themselves. The prosecutor's letter says they were treated for superficial wounds.

As one videotape illustrates inhuman treatment of Russian inmates, the other shows a mass protest against harsh prison conditions. If the images of the disputed recording are indeed recent, they suggest reemergence of the Gulag, the infamous Soviet prison system, where millions of political prisoners and criminals were subjected to beatings, forced labor, and temperatures of 40-below zero in distant isolation from the rest of the world.

If the video dates from the 1990s, as authorities insist, it is a rare look at a past that Evgeniy Khlov says few Russians care to acknowledge and much of which remains hidden in police archives.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs