Russia ’s most notorious neo-Nazi leader has been found dead in prison in what his lawyer claims was “murder”.
Maxim Martsinkevich – nicknamed Tesak, meaning Machete – died in a case initially viewed as suicide but now a criminal case has been opened into his death.
The 36-year-old antigay ultranationalist was found dead in his cell in a Urals detention centre, apparently from asphyxia.
A razor was also found close to his body, and his neck and face were covered in blood.
“Resuscitation efforts by a medical team were unsuccessful,” said a prison service spokesman.
His lawyer Ivan Sidorov said his client had no reason to kill himself, claiming it is likely “somebody assisted him” in dying, and demanding a murder investigation.
An alleged suicide note “apologised for any inconvenience” from his death.
Martsinkevich had previously said: “If suddenly I slash my veins or hang myself while in transit, know that I was helped. Strongly.”
Last week he complained to a lawyer that he had been tortured and forced to sign confessions to murders he claimed he had not committed.
He died in transit to Moscow where he was due to testify in a court case.
The neo-Nazi – who had been a leader of the far-right hooligan firm Format 18 – also founded homophobic group Occupy Paedophilia, which aimed to “cure” homosexuals.
His group lured gay men to meetings for sex with teenage boys gays to meetings for sex but then filmed attacks on them that included dousing them with urine.
He was accused of outing LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends, causing some to commit suicide.
Martsinkevich fled to Cuba but was extradited to Russia.
He was jailed for ten years for “banditry and hooliganism” after a vigilante campaign attacking alleged drugs suppliers with electric shockers, pepper spray and metal bats.
Martsinkevich had three prior convictions relating to extremism and inciting hatred.
He ran far-right youth groups and posed with swastikas.
A criminal case has been opened into “incitement to suicide” at the Chelyabinsk region detention centre, an informed source told Interfax.
This enables police to carry out a full forensic examination.
However other official sources denied a criminal case has been opened claiming there was no evidence to suggest foul play.