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Russian court-martial jails officer for abuse costing conscript his legs

[JURIST] A Russian court-martial sitting at a military base outside Khabarovsk in the far east of the country has sentenced Sergeant Dmitry Nagaitsev to five years in prison after he was convicted of abusing his rank and degradation for beating a private at an eastern Russian military base. Private Yevgeny Koblov suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the hazing and was found unconscious in the basement of a building at the base after hiding from his tormentor for 23 days without food or protection from the elements. Koblov's legs were surgically removed to stop the spread of gangrene that had developed while he hid frm Nagaitsev. The court-martial also awarded Koblov around $7,500 USD in "moral" compensation. AFP has more.

Following a long national history of military conscription [HRW backgrounder], current Russian law provides for a two-year mandatory draft, but most candidates manage to avoid this by bribery or doctors' certficates, leading to low-quality intake and frustrated officers. Many who are conscripted have to be forcibly detained [HRW backgrounder]. The Russian Defense Ministry [official website] says that in 2005 16 Russian soldiers died of bullying and some 256 committed suicide [MosNews report]. The Union of Soldiers' Mothers Committees [advocacy website] claims that over 80% of abuse incidents go unreported, and those which are made public are generally disclosed by relatives, doctors or rights groups. Earlier this year Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov blamed Russian society for fostering a culture of military abuse [JURIST report] following disclosure of the torture and disfigurement [JURIST report] of another conscript, Andrei Sychev, on New Year's Eve. In February, a Russian military court convicted a senior officer [JURIST report] in the country's elite missile corps of modern-day slavery and contracting out conscripts under his command for personal gain.

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