On 18 February 2016, the Investigative Committee announced in a statement it had launched a criminal investigation into alleged torture at Ekaterinburg's Penal Colony No. 2. Carl Schreck, writing for RFE/RL, reports that local news portal 66.ru published "disturbing footage showing the man being subjected to humiliating punishments and indicating that he had been severely whipped." The website, 66.ru, reported that the material it obtained "suggest such cruelty -- including sexual abuse -- is endemic at Yekaterinburg's Penal Colony No. 2."
Carl Schreck writes: "The first video shows a purported inmate at the facility naked and being forced to dunk his head in toilets, which his tormentors proceed to flush. Throughout the one-minute clip, in which he also appears to be spat on, they cackle in delight and ridicule the man as a "rat" and "bitch." The second video appears to show the same man, still naked, face down on the bathroom floor with his hands bound behind his back, which is covered with bloody lacerations consistent with wounds from a whipping. One man proceeds to urinate on him. It was not immediately evident from the footage if those subjecting the man to this treatment and filming it were employees of the prison. Nor was it clear when the video was shot. According to 66.ru, the news portal obtained a third video showing abuse in the prison that it deemed too disturbing to publish. [...] In addition to the videos, 66.ru published a copy of what it said is a prisoner's handwritten letter suggesting such a caste system was used to coerce inmates into keeping quiet about abuses at Yekaterinburg's Penal Colony No. 2."
The statement, quoted by Carl Schreck issued by the Investigative Committee announced a commitment not only to look into the actions of those who took part in the torture, but also of those "under whose authority such use of violence was made possible." However, Schreck also refers to a statement by Aleksandr Levchenko, spokesman for the regional Federal Prison Service, quoted by the TASS news agency, saying that "the materials published by 66.ru could be a 'provocation' by rights groups to 'destabilize the situation' in the prison."
Picture: Logo of the Investigative Committee
Carl Schreck, 'Brutal Prison Torture Videos Spark Russian Investigation,' RFE/RL, 18 February 2016
'Расследование 66.ru: пытки осужденных екатеринбургской колонии палачи снимали на видео. Страшные кадры 18+,' 66.ru, 18 February 2016
'В СВЕРДЛОВСКОЙ ОБЛАСТИ ВОЗБУЖДЕНО УГОЛОВНОЕ ДЕЛО ПО ФАКТУ ПРИМЕНЕНИЯ НАСИЛИЯ К ОСУЖДЁННОМУ, СТАВШЕМУ ИЗВЕСТНЫМ ИЗ СРЕДСТВ МАССОВОЙ ИНФОРМАЦИИСКОЙ,' Investigative Committee, 18 February 2016'Прокуратура и СК проверяют информацию о пытках в екатеринбургской ИК-2б,' TASS, 18 February 2016