Russia's Putin fires prisons chief after torture scandal

Alexander Kalashnikov dismissed after rights activists released evidence confirmed abuse in jails

2021-11-25 15:02:26

MOSCOW

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired on Thursday head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Alexander Kalashnikov, days after evidence of torture at correctional facilities surfaced.

Early October, Vladimir Osechkin, the founder of prisoners' rights project Gulagu.net, said they received more than 1,000 video files confirming "the systemic use of torture methods" in prisons and pre-trial detention centers in the city of Saratov and other cities and regions.

The release of the videos provoked widespread public anger, leading to numerous dismissals at all levels in the penitentiary service.

Based on the footages, Russian prosecutors also opened over a dozen criminal cases of sexual violence and abuse of authority.

Welcoming the announcement, Gulagu.net in a post on Telegram said “sadists will go to prison for a long time," hoping there will be more dismissals and criminal cases against abusers, and promised to continue to work against torture at the facilities.

Meanwhile, Arkady Gostev was appointed as the new director of the penitentiary service, according to an executive order.