Orphans brutal beating clip goes viral, outrages Russia

Orphans brutal beating clip goes viral, outrages Russia
Kids in a far-eastern Russian orphanage have suffered frequent thrashings, seemingly at the hands of elder orphans. The children’s ordeal caused outrage after footage of the beatings went viral on YouTube.

A video uploaded on the video-sharing service, which was apparently filmed on a mobile phone by one of the offenders, showed several female adolescents strapping and kicking little boys and shouting “Go to bed!” at them.

The footage was sent to a local media agency by an unnamed person, who said it was taken at the Mazanovsky children’s home in a rural area of the Amur Region, according to RIA.

Still from YouTube video sent to Amur.info

An investigation has revealed at least ten children aged 7 to 9 were “systematically” beaten by several orphans from the elder group. Three females administered the beatings, one was underage, the investigators said.

Four suspects have been identified, and two of them detained. The third offender being just under sixteen could not be prosecuted, and the girl who was filming the beating is yet to be questioned by the investigators.

A criminal case against the two oldest suspects, born in 1995 and 1996, has been opened; the orphans could spend up to 7 years in prison if found guilty.

The director of the orphanage has also been suspended from her job.

There have been calls from the public for not just punishment of the offenders, but also prosecutions of the responsible local authorities. According to the investigation, the young boys had been violently ‘punished’ since February, and it remains unclear if the orphanage staff had done anything at all to prevent the brutality.

Russian Ombudsman for Children’s Rights Pavel Astakhov has joined the public anger, demanding the children’s home to be closed and an investigation of the people supervising the orphanage.

“This was systematic. There are at least six proven episodes of child torture in the orphanage. It is practically impossible that the supervisors had not known about it. And if they knew, and, even worse, encouraged such ‘relations’ between the elder and the younger orphans – then, there is another criminal case,” Astakhov argued.

He said the conditions were “prison-like” and the behaviour “criminal,” Astakhov urged called for the rehabilitation and re-education of the children – but not in the same place.

However, Astakhov also blamed the regional authorities, saying they were responsible for failing to ensure the orphans received a proper education and decent care, but instead had their “mental health ruined.”

The actions of Amur Region officials working for the Ministry of Education, as well as the law enforcement bodies responsible for child safety will be given “a thorough legal assessment,” the investigative committee has assured.

Local media also quoted a woman allegedly working in the orphanage, who said everyone was aware of the repeated beatings. The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she had tried to talk with one of the girls caught on the video.

“I had been beaten in the orphanage, and I will beat,” was the orphan’s alleged response.

The orphanage has so far refused to comment on the matter.