Head of Urals Prison Suspended Over Inmate Riots

CHELYABINSK, December 26 (RIA Novosti) – The head of the prison in Russia’s Urals region where inmates rioted one month ago has been suspended from his post pending the outcome of the investigation into the unrest, the deputy head of the Investigative Committee’s Chelyabinsk division said on Wednesday.

Denis Mekhanov was the head of Prison Number 6 in Kopeisk, Chelyabinsk Region, where around 500 inmates rioted on November 25-26 over alleged abuses by prison guards, including beatings and extortion. He was detained by police on Monday on charges of “abuse of power.”

“We have a copy of the order suspending Mekhanov and prohibiting his entry onto prison territory,” Yevgeny Ovchinnikov, the deputy head of the Chelyabinsk investigative committee, said.

He added that Mekhanov’s suspension would remain in force throughout the period of the ongoing investigation against him. He could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Eight police officers were injured in the November riots, during which inmates climbed onto the prison roof and held up a make-shift banner reading “People, help us.”

Riot police also reportedly clashed with the hundreds of relatives of the inmates who had gathered outside the prison.


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