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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Unidentified Officer Met With 3 Witnesses in Sychyov Case

A military unit commander testifying in the Andrei Sychyov case told a Chelyabinsk military court Monday that he had allowed an unidentified officer to speak with three key prosecution witnesses with no supervision, Interfax reported.

Sychyov, a first-year conscript serving at the Chelyabinsk Armor Academy, was the victim of a brutal hazing incident in January that left him with gangrene in his feet and legs. Sychyov's legs and genitals were subsequently amputated.

The commander, Alexander Anupriyev, served in a unit where the witnesses -- Oleg Makarin, Sergei Gorlov and Yury Kirov -- had been placed for their own protection, Interfax reported.

The three witnesses earlier told the court that an "unknown general in civilian clothes" had told them to recant their previous testimony in the trial of Alexander Sivyakov, a second-year soldier at the Chelyabinsk Armor Academy who has been charged with carrying out the attack on Sychyov.

Anupriyev testified Monday that he had been warned that a representative from the tank academy would be coming in late June to speak with the witnesses. The officer arrived in a car with military plates, allowing him to pass through a checkpoint without the usual identification check, Anupriyev said.

"The officer did not introduce himself to me. No one, myself included, checked his identification, because I had been notified in advance of his arrival," Anupriyev said.

The unidentified officer was allowed to speak separately with Makarin, Gorlov and Kirov in the commander's office, but Anupriyev was not present. He informed the court that he did not subsequently ask the soldiers about their hour-long conversations with the officer.

Sivyakov is charged with "exceeding his authority with grave consequences," and faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.