CHELYABINSK, December 25 (RIA Novosti) – A prison head in Russia’s Urals region was detained by police on Tuesday for “exceeding his powers” a month after the inmates rioted against alleged abuse and extortion.
“Denis Mekhanov, suspected of exceeding his powers, has been detained. An investigation is underway,” a local investigation committee official said.
Mekhanov could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
Last week, investigators searched the homes of the prison staff employed at Prison Number 6 in Kopeisk, Russia’s Chelyabinsk Region, where around 500 inmates rioted on November 25-26, over alleged abuse by prison guards.
Eight police officers were injured in the incident, during which inmates climbed onto the prison roof and held up a make-shift banner reading “People, help us.”
Riot officers were also reported to have clashed with hundreds of relatives of inmates who had gathered outside the prison.
Kremlin human rights council chief Mikhail Fedotov said a number of inmates had been held in isolation cells for “months or even years.”
A member of the Kremlin’s human rights council, Maxim Shevchenko, compared the Kopeisk prison to a “concentration camp.” “We saw a splendid park and a beautiful church, marble – but behind the facade there was hell,” he said.