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A terrifying private prison with ties to the Russian mafia has been discovered with an array of torture chambers and even its own furnace.
Russian authorities have classified information about the site, but images have nonetheless emerged of the facility's complex security system, burn pits alleged to torture inmates, and "feeding troughs" for prisoners.
The prison is 25 miles outside Russia's second city St Petersburg and appears inspired by the city's notorious main prison Kresty, which closed in 2017 after 250 years of brutal incarceration.
This horror find has nothing on Kresty but does seem an intimidating location for a small private mafia to torture its most hated enemies.
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The jail was owned by Artur Mkrtychyan, 50, who changed his name to Artur Escobar – inspired by the infamous Colombian cocaine dealer Pablo Escobar.
Gates to entry are decorated with a skull and crossbones plus the Black Hand inscription, a nod to the Sicilian mafia.
Torture devices include a room with electrical sockets in the ceiling and a furnace large enough for a body – with remains found inside.
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Escobar has not said anything about his property but a woman who claimed to be his mother told the newspaper Isvestia she knew nothing about the alleged crimes which took place there.
She said: "I swear I don't know anything about this.
"My hair stood on end from what you told me.
"It just can't be true."
Journalist Sergey Kanev said he thinks the private jail was owned by a powerful local mafia ring.
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Kanev commented: "We can only guess who was a captive there and who was burned alive.
"There was no crematorium, but a hall of torture in the basement.
"A special iron table was installed, hostages were tied up to it and cruelly tortured.
“For example, a pool cue was used on men.
“Reluctant businessmen, debtors, thugs, and hijackers of expensive foreign cars who refused to work under the right 'roof' were brought there."
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Local media outlet 47news broke the story, prompting intrigue from local residents.
Authorities responded by sending a bulldozer to block entry to the site.
The state-run Russian Investigative Committee has since been traced to the prison, but the investigation is now officially "classified", suggesting the prison may have links to more than just the private mafia it was first associated with.
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