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Kopeisk penitentiary director charged with exceeding authority

December 25, 2012, 16:06 UTC+3

Mekhanov was detained earlier in the day within the case of extortion of money from inmates

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YEKATERINBURG, December 25 (Itar-Tass) — Director of the Kopeisk penitentiary Denis Mekhanov has been charged with exceeding his authority, spokesman for the regional department of the Investigative Committee /SK/ Valentin Vedernikov told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"The investigators are mulling a measure of restraint for Mekhanov. They might file the relevant petition with a court tomorrow," Vedernikov said.

Mekhanov was detained earlier in the day within the case of extortion of money from inmates.

On November 24, 500 inmates at penitentiary # 6 refused to obey the demands by the prison administration and insisted on easing the regulations. The regional SK department launched a pre-investigation check. The inmates demand was backed by their relatives who had come to the penitentiary to lend support. Eight special task force police were injured when breaking up the illegal rally.

The SK opened five criminal cases over riots in the maximum security penitentiary in Kopeisk, Chelyabinsk region, and use of violence on special task force police, SK spokesman Vladimir Markin told Tass earlier.

One criminal case was opened over extortion of money from inmates by prison personnel under threats of violence," the spokesman said.

Investigators later searched the apartments of Kopeisk prison officials within the probe into the criminal case against them.

The case against Mekhanov was opened under Article 286, Part 3 /"exceeding authority, using violence and causing grave consequences."/ The maximum penalty for this offense is ten years in jail.

"The SK searched apartments of Kopeisk prison staff last week, including Mekhanov's apartment and retrieved hard evidence related to the investigation into the criminal case," an SK official said.

An SK group for the Chelyabinsk region that worked at the Kopeisk prison, took more than 120 reports from inmates, many of which claimed that prison staff had extorted from them the sums ranging from 5,000 to 90,000 roubles in the period from 2008 through November 2012, under the threat of creating hard prison conditions or use of physical violence.

Members of the presidential council for human rights and civil society development /SPCh/ who visited the Kopeisk penitentiary after the riot said they had found evidence that inmates had been abused.

After the November 24 riot, Mekhanov, his deputy Yevgeny Zakhor, and 15 personnel of the regional department of the Federal Penitentiary System /GUFSIN/ were disciplined. The SK is continuing to look into the reasons behind the disobedience action.





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