MOSCOW, December 26 (Itar-Tass) — Investigators have changed the measure of restraint for Kopeisk penitentiary director Denis Mekhanov from house arrest to recognizance. "The measure of restraint has been changed to recognizance due to new circumstances and Mekhanov's willingness to cooperate," Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass.
Earlier on Wednesday, the SK charged Mekhanov with exceeding his authority. According to the investigators, Mekhanov, using his office position, issued repeated instructions to his subordinates to extort money from inmates. This caused the November 24 mutiny, when up to 500 inmates refused to obey the prison administration’s requirements and insisted on easing prison regulations.
Many inmates later wrote statements claiming extortion of sums from 5,000 to 90,000 roubles in the period from 2008 through November 2012, under the threat of bad prison conditions and threats of violence, the SK spokesman said.
Mekhanov has been suspended for the period of the investigation. Lt-Col Alexander Yurochko is substituting for him.