The Russian investigative newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, has identified a Russian Wagner Group contractor as the man responsible for the torture and beheading of a Syrian national back in 2017. 

The newspaper named the alleged torturer as Stanislav Yevgenyevich Dychko. He had been hired as a reconnaissance gunner by the Russian government-linked Wagner mercenary company. However, when a video of the reported execution first surfaced last fall, the Kremlin said that it “has nothing to do with the Russian military operation in Syria.”

In the gruesome video that surfaced on social media, four Russian-speaking men were filmed beating the screaming victim with a sledgehammer and then beheading, dismembering, and setting fire to the Syrian man.

The victim was later identified as Muhammad “Hamadi” Abdullah al-Ismail from the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor. He had fled to Lebanon to escape the Syrian civil war. Upon his return to Syria, he was forcibly conscripted into President Bashar al-Assad’s army, but he deserted.

Wagner mercs in Syria. (Novaya Gazeta photo)

The victim was accused of being a jihadist because he attempted to flee his post and one of his torturers can be heard saying that “this will happen to every member of ISIS.”

During the video, the Wagner men were recorded cutting into the unresponsive victim as they said, “Cut him harder, come on! Just break his spine! Use a shovel.”

“Keep the legs, we’ll hang him by the legs,” the newspaper quoted them as saying. Another leaked video shows the masked men dousing an upside-down body with fuel and lighting it on fire. The men then kicked his head, asking if they were going to play soccer that day. 

There was likely a second victim of the torture, Novaya reported, referring to another severed head seen in the footage they obtained.