Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
This is the shocking moment a mortuary worker films countless corpses half hanging out of body bags piled up in a Russian morgue, where they are allegedly being held hostage as they slowly rot to persuade grieving relatives to pay to have them released.
The footage shot at the morgue in the city of Tolyatti in Russia’s Samara region caused outrage when it was shared online, showing the bodies allegedly deliberately left to rot as a way of putting pressure on relatives to pay exorbitant costs for refrigeration, according to investigators.
In a statement, the press service of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Samara region confirmed that it was investigating employees for demanding an “illegal monetary award” for the cost of keeping the bodies and also to “speed up the paperwork needed to release them for a proper burial”.
It said the pre-investigation had started into allegations that relatives are being forced to pay to keep the bodies in refrigerators. The mortuary workers were also allegedly demanding money for the embalming process, which is also illegal.
The amount the families were being asked to pay was around RUB 12,800 (GBP 128), according to the investigators.
In the video, which was shared online on 22nd November and swiftly went viral, an unidentified person, believed to be an employee, shows several corpses, some fully inside body bags and some half hanging out, piled up in the hallways and on the floor of the morgue, allegedly left to decompose because their families did not pay the fee.
The premier of Tolyatti, Nikolai Renz, said he was angered by the footage and demanded that the incident be thoroughly investigated. He said the mortuary workers should have shown more humanity and respect.
The Central Inter-District Investigation Department of the City of Tolyatti is reported to be conducting an inspection, and a procedural decision will be made based on the results.
The investigators are also looking at allegations that mortuary workers defiled the bodies by failing to preserve them properly.