Over a hundred inmates sent to Ukraine from prison where ‘Network case’ convict is serving his sentence

Over a hundred inmates of the prison where Ilya Shakursky is serving his sentence have been sent to Ukraine, the prisoner told his mother. Ilya Shakursky was previously sentenced to 16 years behind bars in the so-called “Network case”.

Shakursky’s mother was able to contact her son on 26 September. It was the first conversation they had since 15 September.

“My guess that the Wagner Group visited them at the time turned out to be true. They didn’t pressure Ilya and didn’t isolate him from other convicts. I don’t think there’s a point in describing his reaction to the calls for taking part in combat in exchange for freedom: everyone knows and understands very well how Ilya feels about those things,” Elena wrote on Facebook.

According to Elena, over a hundred convicts left the prison in Mordovia for Ukraine. There were foreign nationals among them.

On 26 September, Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin confirmed that he had founded the private military company (PMC) Wagner, also known as the Wagner Group, in May 2014. Back in August, media outlet Verstka together with foundation Russia Behind Bars reported that PMC Wagner representatives visited at least 17 penitentiaries in 10 regions of Russia and recruited more than a thousand convicts for the war in Ukraine. The human rights defenders of the foundation reported that the first recruitments had occurred back in spring.

On 10 February 2020, seven defendants in the Network Case, including Shakursky, were sentenced to 6-18 years in prison. Shakursky was sentenced to 18 years. The court found them guilty of establishing a terrorist community and preparing for a violent overthrow of the constitutional order.

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