Jail dubbed ‘world’s most brutal’ where blindfolded lags only leave in body bags
The "world's most brutal prison" in Russia, known for housing cannibals and serial killers, is said to be so harsh that the only way out is death.
The high-security jail, which doesn't even allow inmates exercise, is watched over by specially trained guards who keep a constant eye on the dangerous prisoners.
The Black Dolphin Penitentiary, home to around 700 people who have collectively committed about 3,500 murders, houses some of the country's most violent criminals including terrorists, rapists and paedophiles. These inmates are confined to their cells every day until they die, with no successful escapes ever recorded.
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Lieutenant Denis Avsyuk, who oversees the prison, expressed his disdain for the inmates in an interview with National Geographic, saying: "To call them people – it makes your tongue bend back just to say it. I have never felt any sympathy for them." The prison, located on the Kazakhstan border and one of the oldest in Russia, gets its informal name from a statue at the front of the building, crafted by the prisoners themselves.
A prison lieutenant at Black Dolphin has chillingly stated that the only way out for inmates is death, as they are all serving life sentences. The harsh conditions include 24-hour video surveillance, triple-layered steel doors, and a cramped 'cell within a cell' where two prisoners share a tiny 50-square-foot space.
The guards at this brutal detention centre check on the inmates every 15 minutes. When prisoners leave their cells, they're forced to walk hunched over – a unique tactic believed to maximise control and limit their view of their surroundings, preventing escape or attack attempts.
Prisoners are also blindfolded when outside their cells to keep them clueless about the prison layout. There's no yard for exercise; instead, they pace back and forth in another cell while their own cells are searched for contraband.
There's no canteen in Black Dolphin; prisoners eat four meals a day in their cells, usually soup and bread. They're only allowed books, newspapers, and a radio. A TV segment showed an inmate being marched down a corridor lined with locked doors, bent over with his hands held behind his back, followed closely by a barking German shepherd on a short leash.
Nikolai Astankov, a prisoner serving life for murdering a family and burning their bodies in the forest, shared his grim outlook: "If you constantly think about how you are here, what is waiting for you, that you won't ever get free, that you are left here alone, you simply won't make it," he said. He also revealed the harsh conditions of prison life, saying: "You are constantly being filmed in your cell."
Prisoners in the brutal detention centre are kept under 24-hour video surveillance, the cells are set back between three sets of steel doors, and inmates live in a 'cell within a cell' with two inmates being forced to share one 50-square-foot-cell.
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They are also blindfolded when they walk outside of their cell. This is to ensure that prisoners do not have a good understanding of the prison layout. There is no prison yard, and exercise consists of pacing back and forth in another cell, during which time the cells of inmates are checked by guards for contraband.
There is no cafeteria in Black Dolphin, instead, prisoners eat four meals a day in their cells and meals consist of soup and bread. They are only allowed books, newspapers and a radio. Footage from the TV segment shows an inmate being marched down a corridor lined with locked doors, bent over at the waist with his hands being held behind his back. A German shepherd dog barks incessantly as it's led on a short leash behind the man.
Another inmate, Vladimir Nikolayev, infamous for his cannibalistic crime, recounted his gruesome act in a video interview. "What was I to do? i dragged him to the bathroom, undressed him and started cutting him apart," he said. "I cut off his head, arms, legs and all of a sudden something kind of struck me and I thought I would try him. I cut off a piece of meat of his thigh and boiled it. I tried it and didn't like it, so I chopped it up and fried it in a frying pan."
"I gave some meat to one of my friends, he took it home and gave it to his wife. She made dumplings with it, she had some herself and fed it to her children. I said it was kangaroo, we don't have kangaroos around here. They didn't know what it was."
* This article was crafted with the help of an AI tool, which speeds up Daily Star's editorial research. An editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected]
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