A leak of 40 Gb of video footage from various prisons throughout Russia shows a horrifying system of “torture conveyor belt” in which male prisoners are get brutally raped on camera and are then blackmailed with the footage to do the same to other inmates.
The footage trove which was smuggled out of Russia by a former inmate appears to show the brutal sexual assaults of at least 40 male prisoners although the true number might be around 200, according to activists cited in a report of The Daily Mail.
Inmates raped with mop handles
The cited activists state that there are gangs of rapists that get deployed in order to “break” male prisoners and force them to sign false confessions or testimonies.
The report says the videos show scenes such as a screaming man being raped with a mop handle in a tuberculosis hospital, a male inmate raping another male inmate tied to a bed, or a group of prisoners urinating on another male inmate.
The 40 Gb of shocking video footage was smuggled out of Russia and leaked by a Belarussian computer programmer who was imprisoned in the Russian city of Saratov.
He was used by the prison authorities by having him collate the horrifying collection of torture and rape videos which were actually filmed on nothing else but prison-issue cameras.
So the terrifying footage was actually part of the official archives of Russia’s FSIN prison service.
According to the report, the programmer copied the material and managed to sneak it out of Russia, and is now seeking political asylum in an unnamed Western country.
The copy of the conveyor belt torture videos of Russian male inmates was provided by the leaker to a prison reform campaign group at Gulagu.net.
They published some parts from the videos and called for urgent reforms.
The Daily Mail states explicitly that it reviewed some of the material provided but isn’t publishing it “because of its highly distressing nature.”
The video of prisoner rape and other torture appears to have been a systematic practice as activists say the tapes in the leaked video come from prisons in six regions of Russia in both the European and the Asian parts of the country.
The regions of Saratov, Vladimir, and Belgorod are in the European part of Russia, whereas Irkutsk, TransBaikal, and Kamchatka are in Siberia.
The activists are going to provide the materials to the Council of Europe, an intergovernmental organization of all European states, which focuses on human rights, and of which Russia is a member, and to the United Nations.
Government’s special services torturing people en masse
Russia’s authorities appeared to acknowledge the issue, saying on Wednesday that five top-level prison officials have been fired and criminal investigations have been started over the leaked videos.
Even Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declared that “this is a reason for a serious probe” if the materials are proven to be authentic.
Vladimir Osechkin, who publishes on Gulagu.net and is based in France, is quoted as saying that the leaked video trove is the first case in which defenders of human rights have received “such a colossal amount” of evidence about the “systemic nature of torture in Russia.”
He adds that the Russian authorities are scared of admitting that fact to the public because of the reality that the government’s special services are “torturing people en masse.”
The activist adds that he has evidence of 200 prisoners raped and tortured by agents of the FSIN and the FSB security service in Russian prisons, and 40 of those cases are depicted in the leaked videos.