Russian anti-war activist dead after complaining of mistreatment in jail: lawyer

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A Russian anti-war activist has died in a detention center in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don where he had alleged he was being mistreated, his lawyer said.

Irina Gak, a lawyer for 40-year-old Anatoly Berezikov, said in a video posted on Facebook that the dead body of her client, who had been due to be released on Thursday, had been taken to a morgue on Wednesday.

The video, which was filmed on Wednesday, showed Gak standing outside the detention center where Berezikov had been held as an ambulance that she said was there to collect his body drove in. Reuters could not independently verify her account.

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Gak could not be immediately reached by phone. The detention center told Reuters that it would not be giving out any information about Berezikov.

In the video, Gak said Berezikov had complained of beatings and of being given electric shocks and had told her he feared for his life.

OVD-Info, a human rights monitoring group, cited an unnamed official in the detention center as telling it that Berezikov had killed himself in his cell.

According to Gak, Berezikov was arrested after he posted leaflets around the city advertising a Ukrainian government project called “I Want to Live,” which helps Russian soldiers voluntarily surrender.

Rostov-on-Don is the capital of a region adjoining Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine.

According to OVD-Info, nearly 20,000 people have been detained for protesting against Russia’s war in Ukraine since it invaded on Feb. 24 last year in what it called a “special military operation,” and criminal cases have been launched against more than 580 people.

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