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Illegal drug rehab center which organized fights between patients discovered in Omsk

Police detained two locals who had been running the center

MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. Police officers discovered an illegal rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addicts in Omsk. Russian Interior Ministry Spokeswoman Irina Volk told TASS that people were held there by force and were not allowed to communicate with their relatives. Two locals who had been running the center were detained.

"The police found out that the detained managed the so-called rehabilitation center since 2017. The organization had no license for conducting medical activity. Patients who came there for rehabilitation were forcibly kept in against their will in isolation from society under the pretext of medical assistance. The victims told the police that the wrong-doers would use violence and threats as well as made them sign documents that contained an allegedly voluntary agreement to stay in the facility," Volk commented.

They could not tell their relatives or police about their condition as it was banned to communicate with the outside world. "Rare telephone calls were made under the administrative staff’s control. That said, the relatives of the inmates regularly made monthly payments. During the search, a gas pistol and an object which looked like a combat pistol, as well as a great number of potent substances were confiscated from the suspects and sent for examination," Volk added.

A law enforcement source told TASS that the center organized sparring matches between the patients.

The Regional Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee for the Omsk Region told journalists that the center’s head has no medical education or license for carrying out medical activity. Staff used to lock the patients in rooms with window bars to isolate them, fix them to a bed with handcuffs and attach kettlebells to their legs. In case of disobedience the patients were beaten. The relatives would pay from 15,000 rubles ($238) to 20,000 rubles ($317) per month for this "treatment." One of the patients, a 25-year-old man, was held in the facility for almost a year. In all, eight people were recognized as victims.

A criminal case was launched under Section 127 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Illegal deprivation of freedom"). The court ruled to place one of the suspects into custody as a measure of pre-trial restraint, while his accomplice is staying under house arrest. Activities to identify all the patients who were held in the center are underway.