Revelations that a brutal Russian gang lord, convicted of organizing murders and extortion, turned his prison cell into a hotel room with cellphone, delicacies and parties, are “outrageous,” the presidential press-secretary said.
The photos of Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz, nicknamed ‘Zlodey’ (the Villain), munching on crab meat, caviar and kebabs, while serving his almost 20-year prison term, have caused a vast public outcry after surfacing online earlier in November.
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The criminal also held parties with other inmates and used a mobile phone with internet access, which is strictly forbidden for prisoners.
As one of the bosses of the infamous Tsapok gang, Tsepovyaz was jailed in 2013 for his part in organizing a massacre in Kushchevskaya, southern Russia. In the 2010 incident, a farmer and his guests, 12 people including 4 children, were slaughtered.
“It’s an outrageous, disgusting situation,” Dmitry Peskov, the president’s press secretary said.
Prison authorities were aware of Tsepovyaz’s luxury prison life and were “making all the necessary measures to avoid such situations in the future,” Peskov assured.
В УФСИН подтвердили, что осужденный на 19 лет член банды цапков ел за решеткой крабов, икру и шашлык. И даже рассказали, когда именно сделаны снимки, на которых Вячеслав Цеповяз позирует с деликатесами:https://t.co/p37TZJBMJXpic.twitter.com/V2wBMaUMjR
— KP.RU – Кубань (@kp_kuban) November 6, 2018
Also on Friday, all the four members of the Public Monitoring Committee, who evaluated the conditions of the crime boss’ detention after the release of the pictures, announced their resignation.
Their visit ended in scandal after the committee’s head, Natalya Okhotnikova, took to Instagram and described Tsepovyaz as “a famous entrepreneur, a legitimate MP and a philanthropist.” She insisted that the man was innocent and that claims of him being a murderer were nothing but “dirty lies.”
After the backlash, Okhotnikova tried to excuse herself by saying that she simply reposted the statement, which was passed to her by Tsepovyaz’s lawyers, and that it was “her mistake.”
The resignation was “a silent protest,” one of the committee members said. “The bullying, that is organized in the media and supported by Russia’s Public Chamber, is unacceptable.”
Earlier, Public Chamber member, blind singer Diana Gurtskaya suggested that Okhotnikova “should leave the post” of the Public Monitoring Committee head and regretted ever supporting her candidacy for the job.
Gurtskaya reiterated that Tsepovyaz and his associates were criminals, convicted by a court, who “should repent and beg for forgiveness, instead of frying kebabs and posing for photos.”
The gang lord previously claimed that he never enjoyed any privileges while behind bars and that the accusations against him were false. Tsepovyaz said that some of the photos of him with delicacies were taken during visitation days, while the rest were photoshopped to slander him.
However, the Federal Penal Correction Service confirmed the authenticity of the pictures, saying that they were taken in 2015.
The media linked the release of the photos to Tsepovyaz’s ongoing divorce with his wife, who previously was the one sending him money to support the good life in prison.
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