Death of prisoner Kochetov
On the night of March 11-12, 40-year-old detainee Ilya Kochetov died in SIZO No. 6 of Angarsk. Roman Rugevich, founder of the Anti-Torture project, told The Insider that Kochetov inflicted fatal injuries on himself to avoid torture.
“When a person is opened in places of deprivation of liberty, it’s not just like that. The administration of the institution creates certain circumstances in which a person is forced to injure himself in order to protect himself. Apparently, pressure was put on Kochetov, perhaps he was forced to take over the hangings for petty thefts, and he, unable to withstand all these harassment, was forced to open up, ”Rugevich said.
The circumstances of Kochetov's death and the official cause are unknown. The Insider sent a request about this to the leadership of the Angarsk pre-trial detention center, but has not yet received a response.
Kochetov previously served a sentence in IK-3 of Irkutsk for petty theft - the employer did not pay him a salary, and Kochetov sold the employer's power tool to compensate for the money not paid to him. The owner of the instrument wrote a statement to the police, after which Kochetov was detained and subsequently convicted. He served his term and was released on parole, and in October 2022 he was again detained for not registering with the police and placed in SIZO No. 6.
According to Rugevich, there was no hint of suicidal tendencies in Kochetov's behavior, he regularly wrote optimistic letters to his relatives and planned his life after his release.
Irkutsk human rights activist Pyotr Kuryanov, in a conversation with The Insider, suggested that torture in SIZO No. 6 could have intensified ahead of the trial in Russia's most high-profile criminal case of torture and rape in the institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Irkutsk Region.
“The GUFSIN does not leave hope that the verdict will be acquittal, they do not plead guilty, and their colleagues who are there in the pre-trial detention center told the prisoners: “The Muscovites will leave, and everything will continue,” he said.
According to Kuryanov, since the investigation ended, human rights activists rarely appear in SIZO No. 6. “There are simply not enough resources to participate in courts in Irkutsk and consider cases of torture, and even go to the Angarsk pre-trial detention center,” he explained.
The human rights activist did not rule out that the death of prisoner Kochetov may be due to the fact that the management of the pre-trial detention center puts pressure on the prisoners as the trial of torture in court approaches. “The case is over, and the guys in SIZO No. 6 are slowly being prepared for trial, the screws are being tightened for the entire contingent. They say to them: “Think, guys, there is a trial about torture ahead. Think what you say." We've already been through this. It will be necessary to go there more often on the eve of the trial so that this does not happen, ”Kuryanov said.
The case of torture after the riot in IK-15
In April 2020, a riot took place in the Angarsk colony No. 15. One of the prisoners said that he was beaten by a colony officer. After that, about 20 solidarity people cut their veins. In protest, other prisoners set fire to the woodworking shop. During the dispersal of the riot, the FSIN officers used "physical force and special means" against 415 prisoners. One convict suffered a spinal injury and died in the hospital.
Not only the participants in the riot, but also all those who fell under the hot hand, were taken to SIZO No. 6 of Angarsk and SIZO No. 1 of Irkutsk, where they were beaten and perverted raped. According to human rights activists, about 200 people became victims of torture. Under torture, they wanted to extract confessions from them in organizing a riot in IK-15.
One of the first to publicly talk about torture in the Angarsk SIZO-6 was the prisoner Yevgeny Yurchenko. According to the prisoner, he and 30 other people from IK-15 were sent to the Angarsk SIZO-6, where they raped and tortured them by passing electric current through their genitals. “They tied the rag, sprinkled it with water so that there were no traces of burns. They were all raped to the last man,” Yurchenko said.
On February 1, 2021, after the statements of Yurchenko and human rights activists, a criminal case was initiated under articles on abuse of power (Article 286, part 3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and torture with the use of torture (Article 117, part 2, paragraph "e" of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Later, 17 more cases were added to it. The case of torture in SIZO No. 6 was separated into a separate proceeding.
Dmitry Baroyan, deputy head of the SIZO-6 supervision regime department, and Vasily Lukovsky, the shift supervisor of the first regime building of SIZO-6, were arrested in this case, and they were accused of violence against prisoners. Lukovsky was arrested in the fall of 2021, Baroyan in March 2022. Also accused in the case are four "developers", who are charged with ten episodes under the article on violent acts of a sexual nature.
Yurchenko said that Lukovsky regularly beat the guards on duty in the cell with a polypropylene pipe or a mallet for an incorrect, in the opinion of the SIZO employee, report or any other “mistakes”. At the time of the beating, the song “Vasilisa loves to have fun” was played on the radio.
“This criminal case fell into the proceedings of the investigative department of Irkutsk due to the resonance for the most part,” said Pyotr Kuryanov. - Prisoners began to talk about the monstrous torture that took place in SIZO-6. We went there, Yurchenko was with his representative, and so was I. Journalist Victoria Ivleva wrote a long article about this in Novaya Gazeta. All this together led to the fact that the Investigative Department of Irkutsk was forced to initiate a [separate] criminal case against the employees of [SIZO-6] Barayan, this is the deputy head of the security and regime department, and Lukovsky.”
At the same time, according to the human rights activist, the powers of Barayan and Lukovsky were only temporarily suspended. “The regional Federal Penitentiary Service still obstructs the investigation and insists that they are innocent. In general, they are "not removed from allowance" or as they say. They have not been fired, but work has been suspended due to the investigation,” he said.
In total, about 30 people were recognized as victims in the joint case of torture in the pre-trial detention center and colonies of the Irkutsk region. Human rights activists insisted that in fact there were many more victims, and many employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service who were involved in bullying were never punished and still work in the prison system.
This is the first criminal case in the history of mass torture of a sexualized nature in the institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service, and it has not yet reached the court. Human rights activists said that during the investigation, many victims became frightened and began to withdraw their words, as they were pressured. On August 1, 2022, the Investigation Department of the TFR for the Irkutsk Region announced the completion of investigative actions in this case.
In January 2023, Sibir Realii reported that the investigation into one of the episodes of the criminal case of torture in Angarsk was suspended due to the fact that one of the defendants, prisoner Ruslan Abaev, had recruited into the Wagner PMC. The investigator's decision states that the relevant department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was tasked with "search for persons to be accused", but human rights activists are sure that in fact no one will look for Abaev.
According to Pyotr Kuryanov, during the war, criminal cases of torture and rape of prisoners began to fall apart even more actively:
“In the history of Russia, there has never been such a pile of criminal cases brought to the end of the investigation of criminal cases on torture of a sexual nature. But here everything was superimposed on the war. By and large, torture is no longer of interest to anyone, and this is a bad trend. If we, the civil society, here in Irkutsk also screw this case up, if it is disorganized in the courts, imagine what the effect will be. “We said that our employees are clean and fluffy, they could not do any torture. The court acquitted our colleagues, and you damned imperialist predators, their agents, puppeteers with an insidious underworld are trying to undermine everything.”
Promotion instead of punishment
At the time when the bullying and sexualized violence against prisoners described in the criminal case took place, the head of SIZO-6 was Arslan Mazhidov. After the investigation began, he was neither fired nor suspended. Instead, he headed the Angarsk IK-15, whose prisoners were tortured in his detention center.
The place of Mazhidov in June 2021 was taken by Alexei Ivanov. In May 2022, Ivanov was arrested , but not in a torture case, but in a bribery case. According to investigators, he received a bribe from the convict in the amount of 45,000 rubles, promising him an easing of the regime of detention and "unimpeded organization of short-term personal confidential meetings with other convicts."
In early December 2021, Vladimir Putin awarded the rank of major general of the internal service to the head of the Main Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service for the Irkutsk Region, Leonid Sagalakov. Prisoners said that Sagalakov personally threatened them with rape. “He specifically shouted at everyone: “I * [will have] you all. You will * [have sex]." Right here in such words, ”Taiga.Info quoted a former prisoner of IK-15, Yevgeny Yurchenko, as saying.