Neo-Nazi Who Tortured Gay People in Viral Videos Dies in Prison of Suicide

Maxim Martsinkevich, the 36-year-old Neo-Nazi founder of Occupy Pedophilia, a Russian vigilante group that tortured suspected gay teenagers on video, has reportedly committed suicide while serving a 10-year prison sentence in Siberia for an unrelated violent offense, according to the Moscow Times.

Martsinkevich—the founder of a Russian Neo-Nazi group called Format 18 (18 being an alphanumeric code representing the first and eighth letters of the alphabet, "A" and "H" for Adolf Hitler)—had been arrested, convicted and imprisoned three times previous to his most recent incarceration, each time for inciting ethnic hatred in public or through his online videos. Through Format 18, he allegedly arranged the production and sale of videos showing immigrants being tortured.

In 2013, Martsinkevich became infamous amongst the Western LGBTQ community for his videos associated with Occupy Pedophilia, his group that used social media to lure gay men with promises of sex only to record their humiliated and physical torment on camera.

In many of his videos, Martsinkevich and his cohorts punched and slapped the gay men, forced them to strip to their underwear, shaved their heads in reverse Mohawks, painted rainbows in the sheared stripes upon their heads, forced them to hold sex toys, made them state their full names, had them utter self-denigrating statements like "I suck c*ck" and also forced them to drink urine.

In one video, Martsinkevich brandished a two-pronged fork towards a young man's eye and told him that he could either lose his eye or be sodomized with the fork. Martsinkevich's group claimed to have tortured over 1,500 men.

While Martsinkevich claimed that the videos only targeted pedophiles—purporting to "reform" them or at least punish them as police should—many of the people in his video were teenagers including some aged 15 or younger. Many of the videos also featured anti-gay slurs and homophobic statements.

Maxim Martsinkevich on Russian television in 2012. DenTV Moscow

Martsinkevich posted the videos through YouTube, Facebook and Vkontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, where they were widely shared and admired. On Vkontakte, the videos propelled the creation of hundreds of groups devoted to Occupy Pedophilia. One of the most popular groups had 75,000 followers, according to the American tech news website The Verge.

The campaign also spawned a spinoff group, Occupy Gerontophilia, which targeted young gay people accused of "prostituting" themselves to older men. Similarly, most of these "prostitutes" were teenagers and some of the "older men" were themselves older teens or young adults in their early 20s.

Martsinkevich's anti-gay group and its videos began to surface in the West the same year that the Russian federal government signed a national law criminalizing as "homosexual propaganda." The law has since been used to shut down LGBTQ youth groups, educational sites as well as to fire gay teachers, arrest people demonstrating for LGBTQ rights and harass queer citizens out of the country.

Russian LGBTQ activists criticized Russian authorities for allowing Occupy Pedophilia to operate without punishment. But, in October 2015, six of the group's members were convicted of various charges including torture, inflicting harm and issuing death threats, according to LGBTQ Nation.