A Russian anti-war activist has died in a detention centre in Rostov-on-Don after being subject to torture and death threats, his lawyer has claimed.

Forty-year-old Anatoly Berezikov died on Wednesday, June 14, after being detained last month for posting leaflets around the city advertising a Ukrainian government project called "I Want to Live," which helps Russian soldiers voluntarily surrender to Ukrainian forces.

His lawyer, Irina Gak, suspects he died as a result of torture and said he had repeatedly stated he had been abused and received death threats.

However, according to an officer from the prison where Berezikov was held, the activist committed suicide.

His death occurred the day before he was due to be released, as his third administrative term was due to expire on 15 June. Gak says that when she had met with Berezikov, on Tuesday, June 13, she recorded marks on the man’s body that appeared to come from a stun gun.

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In a video posted on Facebook, which was made on June 14, Gak is seen outside the detention center where her client was being held, as an ambulance that she said was there to collect his body drove into the compound. 

Berezikov, originally from the southern Siberian Altai Territory but a resident of Rostov-on-Don, was first detained on May 11. He told his lawyer that his ribs were broken as a result of a beating received whilst being detained.

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He also said he had been tortured with a stun gun and pressured into parting with his lawyer.

Berezikov reported the threats of further torture, rape, and murder to Irina Gak in a note.

Gak stressed that during all the meetings, her client spoke constantly about pressure, violence, and threats from law enforcement officers.

A federal judge of the Leninskiy District Court of Rostov-on-Don rejected Berezikov's lawyer's motions and complaints.

 

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