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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 22:31 GMT
General charged in bullying case
Conscripts receive their kits at Chelyabinsk Academy
Bullying in the Russian army is said to be widespread
A Russian general has been charged in connection with a bullying case that resulted in a conscript having his legs and genitals amputated.

Maj Gen Viktor Sidorov was accused of abuse of office by concealing the crime, chief army prosecutor Alexander Savenkov said.

Andrey Sychev was beaten over the New Year at the Chelyabinsk Tank Academy headed by Gen Sidorov at the time.

Eight other conscripts were also hurt. Seven soldiers have been detained.

"The investigation has evidence showing that when (Gen) Sidorov knew that the reason for the amputation... was the beating of the private, the... director testified it was a result of illness," Mr Savenkov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Gen Sidorov was also sacked from the post of the director of the academy in the Urals Mountains, defence ministry officials said.

'Shameful'

Private Sychev, 18, contracted gangrene after he was forced to squat for several hours on New Year's Eve, then tied to chairs and beaten, according to the investigators.

He was not admitted into hospital until several days after the beating, prosecutors said.

Doctors treating the conscript have said he was in a "stable" condition.

"This shameful fact happened on New Year's Eve. Why did it take 25 days for Moscow to be informed? This needs to be clarified," Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov was quoted as saying by the local media.

Mr Ivanov also pledged the inquiry's findings would be made public.

The Russian army has been criticised by human rights groups who say the response to the incidents at the academy has been slow.

Bullying in the armed forces is said to be widespread.



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