Thats what life is like in a Russian torture prison

Rape by fellow prisoners commissioned by staff. Blackmail with video material. And even murder. A disc with 100 gigabytes of video footage shows how things are going in a Russian prison. News hour speaks the whistleblower who brought the images out.

He was there for a while, and he was also a victim of assault. Now Sergey Savelev is free, and he is in France, hiding from the Russian authorities. Meanwhile, he is on a Russian list of wanted criminals, Reuters reports.

They want to break your willpower

According to Sergey, the material consists of more than a thousand videos from the prisons. Whether Sergeys images are authentic is impossible to determine for News Hour. However, it is known that the authorities initiated an investigation shortly after the video was released. The director of the institution was also dismissed, along with his assistant and two permanent employees.

Whistleblower Sergey was used to archive and sort documents and videos during his internment at the prison hospital. And there he gets access to the video records of the abuse. He was also able to download images from other prisons.

Sergey tells Nieuwsuur how she โ€œwants to break youโ€ in prison with severe assaults:

According to Sergey, the assaults are not carried out by the employees, but by the prisoners themselves, so-called editors, who โ€œneed to do the workโ€.

โ€œThere will be an order from the top, from the hospital, the board or the security service,โ€ says Sergey. โ€œAnd let them know that a prisoner needs special treatment.โ€

Blackmail video

But why are those tortures all recorded?

โ€œFirstly, to show the executive board, who gave the order, these torture and mistreatments as evidence,โ€ says Sergey. โ€œLook, we did everything. Hes broken and mentally broken.โ€

The footage is also used to blackmail the victims. โ€œThey use it as: look, we have a video recording of you in which you are sexually assaulted. Now you have to do what we say or you go to the lowest caste in prison. Then the rest of your prison sentence will be hell.โ€

Sergey knew that there was torture and abuse in Russian prisons, but was only reminded of how bad it was when he saw himself. โ€œHearing something is different from seeing,โ€ he tells Nieuwsuur. โ€œIts daunting and terrifying. Thats when I got the feeling that it was necessary to tell me about that.โ€

โ€œA Heroโ€

The footage of the abuse was published by Vladimir Osetskin, the leader of Gulagu.net. Osetskin has set up an action group and he has been documenting all abuses for years now. โ€œTheyre terrifying recordings. Even worse is that its still at issue in the prisons.โ€

According to Osetskin, prisoners are blackmailed with the rape images, โ€œAfter the sexual assaults they automatically go to the lowest caste of humiliatedโ€. According to Osetskin, they will be used for the dirty chores or as sex slave.

Osetchkin thinks that the malpractice is also intense for many employees to see again. He said they would be particularly involved in the system of violence because they have no other choice.

Sergey agrees that: โ€œIf they refuse to execute that order, the same will be done to them. Thats why they have no other choice.โ€

According to Sergey, the only way to do something about it is to disclose whats happening there. โ€œThe biggest fear of the prison system is that one day it will be made public,โ€ he says. โ€œThats why what we do now is so important. That we talk about it not just in Russia, but all over the world.โ€

Osetskin praises Sergey for daring to bring the images to the general public.

โ€œThis is an act of heroism,โ€ he says. โ€œIts heroic. No one else has done what he did. A young man risked his life to gather evidence and share it with the world. Thats very important.โ€

Sergey collected the videos for two years. He feared for his life, if they caught him, he knew what his fate would be. โ€œIll never get out again,โ€ he says. โ€œIll be killed there.โ€