MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian man has been sent to serve a prison sentence behind bars, despite multiple limb amputations that under Russian law should mean he is given alternative punishment, local media and prosecutors say.
A 30-month suspended sentence was handed down to Gennady Bashkeyev by a court in the Khabarovsk Region in absentia in February 2012.
He was listed as a missing person at the time, and did not check in with the police station as required. This prompted a new trial to replace the suspended term with a prison term, regional officials said in a recent statement.
Baksheyev did not show up for court. When officials located him, he had been given multiple amputations.
He told prosecutors that he had suffered serious frostbite in January 2013, and that doctors had to amputate both forearms and feet in order to save his life. Despite this, he was sent to jail earlier this year.
His story made headlines in the local press last Friday, after a reporter visited the Khabarovsk prison facility where Baksheyev is an inmate.
The reporter wrote that one a prisoner volunteered to take care of Baksheyev, who is unable to feed himself. The public outrage that followed prompted the prosecutors to look into the case.
This week, the regional prosecutors released a statement saying that the prisoner has now been moved to the prison’s medical facility.
The probe found that his conviction “was legal.” Baksheyev now has to undergo a medical examination to officially ascertain that he can be classed as having a degree of disability that disbars him from serving a prison sentence.
Russia’s penal system has been criticized by human rights groups in recent years in the wake of the 2009 death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died untreated in pre-trial custody.