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Russian prosecutors charge officer in conscript death

[JURIST] Russian prosecutors filed charges Wednesday against a Russian officer accused of fatally beating a conscript. Cpl. Vadim Kalinin was charged with inflicting "deliberate bodily harm resulting in death" on Russian conscript Pvt. Sergei Sinkonen after Sinkonen's death [AP report] Monday from injuries. Prosecutors allege that Kalinin and Capt. Viktor Bal, currently under investigation but has not yet been charged in the case, beat Sinkonen and another soldier serving his mandatory military conscription period [HRW backgrounder] during a wedding celebration close to their units and then left the conscripts overnight in a dog kennel. The second conscript was released from the hospital after one week. General Konstantin Chmarov, acting head of Sinkonen's unit, was dismissed following the incident. AP has more.

Recent stories of abuse of younger conscripts by seasoned soldiers have greatly damaged the reputation of the Russian military. In February, Russian military prosecutors announced [JURIST report] that they planned to launch a probe into allegations that young conscripts are being forced into prostitution by fellow soldiers. Last year, a Russian military court found an army sergeant guilty of abuse of power and sentenced him to four years in jail for beating and torturing a conscript soldier [JURIST reports]. Faced with mounting conscription problems, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law last July that shortens the conscription term [JURIST report] and wipes out five accepted reasons for military draft deferments.

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