The grim discovered of 54 severed hands in Siberia is ‘not criminal’, according to Russian law enforcement.
Officials claim the mutilated hands may not be suspicious, as authorities chop off the limbs of unknown corpses to keep them in case fingerprints are needed in future.
The hands were discovered in a bag this week on an ice-clad island in the Amur River close to the city of Khabarovsk.
Each hand was laid out in the snow as evidence by Russian police in a shocking photograph.
The Russian Investigative Committee (IC), which probes serious crimes, says that ‘these biological items (human hands) do not have a criminal background’.
Officials suggested there is a little-known practice in Russia for the authorities to slice hands off unknown corpses in a bid to preserve their fingerprints later in case identification is needed.
It is claimed hands were stored at a forensic laboratory – but then disposed of in an ‘inappropriate way’.
The IC says it is now ‘carrying out checks and studying all the circumstances of this event’.
A decision will then be made on whether to prosecute the forensic service for failing to guard its gruesome collection of severed hands.