The Investigative Committee of Russia has completed the investigation of a criminal case on the fact of violence against prisoners in the regional tuberculosis hospital No. 1 (OTB-1) of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Saratov region. According to investigators, the criminal group was created by the leaders of the prison hospital to intimidate convicts and extort money. The defense of the accused does not comment on the case, the lawyers of the victims are not yet familiar with the materials of the prosecution, but they expect to see in them not only the leaders of OTB-1, but also other employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service, possibly involved in the crimes.
The Main Investigation Department of the TFR completed an investigation into the facts of violence in the Saratov OTB-1 of the regional department of the Federal Penitentiary Service. According to the investigation, there are now 15 criminal cases in one proceeding, in which cases of violent acts of a sexual nature against prisoners (Article 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), murders (Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), extortion (Article 163 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and abuse of office (Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). In total, the investigators identified 44 episodes of crimes, and now, according to the Investigative Committee, all the accused, whose full number is not called in the TFR, are getting acquainted with the materials of criminal cases.
According to investigators, the criminal group, in which the prisoners participated, was created by the former head of OTB-1 Pavel Gatsenko and the former head of the security department of the institution, Sergei Maltsev, to intimidate the convicts and extort money from them. Maltsev and Gatsenko are accused of organizing violent acts of a sexual nature (part 3 of article 33 and paragraph “a” of part 2 of article 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and abuse of power (Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
They do not admit guilt and claim that they could not know everything that happens in the institution entrusted to them.
Pavel Gatsenko’s lawyer, Igor Maksimov, confirmed to Kommersant that the investigation of criminal cases on crimes in OTB-1 has been completed, but declined to comment.
It is also known that the charges were brought against former prisoners of the Regional Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1 of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Saratov Region, Sergey Linkevich and Viktor Sheyanov, who worked as orderlies in the medical facility. They are suspected of violent acts of a sexual nature, combined with the threat of murder (clauses “a”, “b” part 2 of article 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
The investigation believes that Linkevich could personally rape several prisoners.
Sheyanov could have been involved in the violence against the convicted Andrey Schwartz, the case on which was initiated in February 2021, but was not investigated due to the absence of the accused.
Also, the name of Viktor Sheyanov appears in the appeals to the Prosecutor General’s Office of OTB-1 prisoners Kirill Konyashkin, Andrey Buzykin and Alexander Veselov sent at the end of 2020. There, the convicts also wrote about cases of rape. According to Kommersant, prisoners Vitaly Yanin, Radik Gimadeev and Sergey Ananyev also appear in criminal cases, they are charged under Art. 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
The facts of violence in the Saratov OTB-1 received wide publicity in October 2021. Video footage of rape was distributed by the human rights project Gulagu.net. The Department of the ICR in the Saratov region opened five criminal cases on the facts of unlawful actions against convicts: three – under Art. 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (violent acts of a sexual nature), two – under Art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (abuse of power), which, by order of the head of the TFR, Alexander Bastrykin, were transferred to the central office of the Investigative Committee.
Deputy head of the main operational department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia Anton Efarkin, who was sent by the central office of the penitentiary service to the Saratov region to investigate cases of violence against prisoners, became the interim head of the Saratov UFSIN. In May 2022, Anton Efarkin resigned, and Alexander Robota was appointed head of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for the Saratov Region.
Against the background of the torture scandal, Alexander Kalashnikov, director of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation, resigned on November 25, 2021.
Cases of abuse of prisoners became the reason for tougher punishment for torture. In Art. 302 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (compulsion to testify) introduced a new subject of the crime – a law enforcement officer. The maximum punishment has been increased from 8 to 12 years in prison.
The lawyer of several victims, Snezhana Muntyan, told Kommersant that her clients had received notifications that the materials of the criminal case had been handed over for review.
“But we haven’t seen them yet, first of all, the accused will get acquainted with them, and since, according to my estimates, there should be quite a lot of them, the familiarization process will drag on for a long time,” she noted. Ms. Muntean said that she only knew for sure about those accused whose names are in public space. “So far we know for sure about Maltsev, Gatsenko and several “activists” (prisoners who are actively cooperating with the administration of the correctional institution. – “Kommersant”), but I hope, when I get acquainted with the cases, to see the names of other employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service there,” she said. Snezhana Muntean.