Vladimir Putin is preparing a jail deep in freezing Siberia where he will send critics to have their hands crushed and their heads shoved down soiled toilets as part of sick torture techniques.
The prison, called IK-17, is located outside the major city of Krasnoyarsk in Central Siberia, 2,500 miles from Moscow, where winter temperatures can fall below -50C. Videos exist of prison officers striking prisoners and dragging them into corridors for thrashings, and they are often taken to torture chambers and areas called “press rooms” where inmates are pressured to confess, too.
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The Mirror reported that some are tortured in the presence of the governor, Colonel Yuri Cheremnykh; referred to by former inmates as “a sadist.” Inmates who are favoured by the staff are encouraged to beat up fellow convicts.
Uncooperative prisoners have their hands crushed, on orders, by fellow inmates, while other prisoners have their heads forced down dirty toilets. The prison is also next to the huge environmentally hazardous Rusal aluminium smelter site, where some inmates are forced to live and work.
A former inmate said: “If you leave the window open, the sill can turn black overnight.” Prisoners get out of bed at 5.30am each day, followed by two hours of outdoor exercise in all weathers.
Human rights organisations reportedly take a severely dim view on the place. Some state that there are no showers and inmates can only visit a bathhouse once a week. There are no doctors, only nurses. "Any dental problems are solved by extractions only,” said David Whelan, brother to American inmate Paul Whelan.
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Solitary confinement is a regular punishment, prisoners said. Perhaps expectedly, it was built to house inmates dubbed “terrorists”, who are actually anyone caught campaigning against President Putin.
Convicted as an American spy, Paul Whelan spent time in the labour camp. He told the BBC in 2020 that being locked up alongside murderers and thieves as a "very, very grim existence".
He said he was woken at night every two hours by prison guards who tear off his blanket and take his photograph, supposedly checking he hasn't tried to escape.
He was arrested in 2018 in Moscow and the former US marine was handed a 16-year sentence after a closed trial.
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