Former inmate who blew whistle on prison torture and rape is arrested in absentia by Russian court

A court in Russia’s Saratov region has authorized the arrest (in absentia) of Sergey Savelyev, the whistleblower who leaked videos to human rights activists documenting torture and rape at a local prison hospital.

Saratov police told the news agency RIA Novosti that officials are aware that Savelyev has left the country, and they say they are preparing documents to add his name to an international wanted list. Savelyev is reportedly accused of illegally accessing computer data while imprisoned in Russia.

Sergey Savelyev fled Russia for France (where he has requested political asylum) after secretly collecting and then leaking a video archive containing footage of widespread prisoner abuse in the Saratov region, where he served nine years on drug-trafficking charges. He shared the videos with human rights activists at

The release of the videos sparked public outrage, leading Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service to fire senior managers at the prison hospital in question and open multiple felony investigations into sexual assault and abuse of authority.

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