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Russian Inmates On Hunger Strike, Official Apologizes For Beating

A group of inmates in a Russian prison where a convict who was severely beaten by guards at another penitentiary is now serving his term have started a hunger strike, local authorities say.

Also on July 31, a senior Russian prison official apologized to the man whose beating came to light after a video was posted on the Internet, saying he was "ashamed" of those who carried it out.

The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) said that the hunger-striking inmates in punitive confinement at Corrective Colony No. 8 in the Yaroslavl region, northeast of Moscow, were demanding better prison conditions.

Regional ombudsman Sergei Baburkin said he planned to visit the prison to assess the situation.

One of the inmates at the prison is Yevgeny Makarov, whom a video published by the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta last week showed being beaten by officers at another prison in the Yaroslavl region.

At least seven prison guards allegedly involved in the beating, which caused an outcry, have been detained and jailed or placed under house arrest.

The video, which the Public Verdict rights organization said was shot at the penitentiary last year, showed Makarov lying on a desk without pants while two people in uniform hold his hands behind his back. Several other uniformed men repeatedly strike his legs and heels with rubber truncheons and fists, while he cries out and begs them to stop beating him.

On July 31, FSIN deputy chief Valery Maksimenko offered his apologies to Makarov.

In an interview with the Govorit Moskva radio station, Maksimenko said that all the guards who were involved in the beating will be fired.

"First of all I would like to offer my apologies to citizen Makarov. Apologies to his relatives and loved ones. I would like to say sorry that our officers, although they are former officers now, did that. I am ashamed of those officers. Ashamed of what they have done. It is surely unacceptable. Apologies to Makarov are a must," Maksimenko said.

The Investigative Committee said on July 23 that all the officers in the video had been identified and a probe had been launched into what it called "a crime."

A lawyer who gave Novaya Gazeta the video has fled the country while seeking protection from state law enforcement authorities.

With reporting by TASS, Govorit Moskva, and Interfax

Source: Radio Free Europe

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