Sergei Savelyev, who allegedly released claimed jail torture films to a human rights group, has been designated sought by Russia’s Interior Ministry, according to a database on the ministry’s website.
The video clips that Savelyev sent on, according to the prisoner rights website Gulagu.net, depict cases of both torture and sexual assaults at a jail in the Saratov region, around 700 kilometers (450 miles) southeast of Moscow.
Since Gulagu.net began broadcasting the films earlier this month, five senior jail officials have been sacked, and a spate of criminal investigations have been launched.
Savelyev, a 31-year-old Belarusian, was wanted for an unspecified crime, according to the database.
Savelyev stated he was not shocked and that he was now in France in a video message posted by Gulagu.net on Saturday.
“I was expecting that,” he admitted, “but it’s not pleasant.”
While in prison, Savelyev, a programmer who assisted in the operation of the local computer network and video cameras, warned that Russia would wish to charge him with leaking national secrets:
“Given the information that we have already made public, I would like to believe that they will acknowledge the facts of the torture and try to resolve the issue of torture while trying to deal with the issue of disclosure of state secrets.”
Gulagu.net has said that the documents, photos and videos that Savelyev passed on prove that hundreds of people across the Russian prison system have been tortured or raped by other inmates directed by prison officials.
Reuters could not independently authenticate the footage.
Gulagu.net said Savelyev was seeking political asylum in France, and that it would send the materials he had provided on to Interpol.