A married Russian couple faces charges after investigators say they found the woman's 70-year-old deaf and blind father chained up in the yard like a dog.
The AFP quotes the Investigative Committee as saying the elderly man, identified in various reports only as Mikhail B., had been tied "to a tree with a metal chain in their yard and kept him there from July 28 to August 1." Authorities went on to note, "Neighbors heard his cries for help and called law enforcers."
The emaciated man told reporters from his hospital bed that he had contracted pneumonia after having been beaten and doused with cold water, the BBC reports. "They beat me with a bottle of water, which is why I have a haematoma on my head," Mikhail B. is quoted as saying. "They took away my pension. When I wanted to eat, they threw ice-cold water on me. Then they chained me and stopped feeding me altogether."
So far, no comments from the 40-year-old woman and 48-year-old husband have emerged, though it has been reported they may have gone into hiding, fearing the anger of their fellow villagers. Still, investigators confiscated as evidence the 3.5-meter-long chain from Mikhail B., as well as his aluminium drinking cup and a plastic water bottle, and have since launched a probe into illegal imprisonment, the AFP reports.
“This was so cruel and inhuman that we had to intervene and take the case under our control,” the official spokesman for the Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, is quoted by Russia Today as saying. “Our investigators will make sure that Mikhail’s relatives are punished according to the law and that the local authorities are doing their best to tackle the issue.”
Mikhail is currently recovering in a local hospital where, apart from being clearly malnourished and dehydrated, he also had a large bruise on his head. “The old man seemed mad, he was always whispering something to himself,” a member of the hospital’s staff told Russia Today. “Now he is crying all day long.”