Russian jail officials jailed for ordering prison rapes

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A court in north-western Russia has jailed seven senior prison staff for torturing prisoners and ordering them to be raped by other inmates.

The former head of the prison department for St Petersburg and its region, Vyacheslav Tippel, received the longest sentence, seven years.

He and five others were jailed over the same rape case, while the seventh officer was jailed over a separate one.

Four prisoners who carried out the rapes were all acquitted.

In the Tippel case, a prisoner jailed for petty theft was assaulted in February 2009 for getting drunk and absconding while on prison leave, the court heard.

After being located in the city of Vladimir, hundreds of kilometres to the south, the young offender was returned to St Petersburg.

Attacked in hospital

Placed in the city's Gaaz prison hospital, he was handcuffed and beaten, and had obscenities written on his chest by three officers.

One of the officers, Tippel's deputy Rostislav Balobolko, then threatened two other prisoners into raping the victim.

Finally, Tippel and two other senior officials beat the runaway up a second time.

Apart from Tippel, the rogue prison officials received sentences of between four and six and a half years.

In the other case heard by the court, prison official Yevgeny Petrov was convicted of ordering three prisoners to rape an inmate he was trying to force into co-operating.

The crime was recorded on video.

Petrov was sentenced to six years.