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'Electric Shocks, Suffocation': Jehovah's Witnesses Say Russian Police Tortured Church Members


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Jehovah’s Witnesses, a U.S.-based religious denomination that Russia has branded extremist and banned, says that police in Russia's Khanty-Mansi region have tortured several members of the congregation.

In a February 19 statement, the religious group said that at least seven of its adherents were "subjected to torture -- electric shocks, suffocation, and cruel beatings" by the Investigative Committee's officers in the city of Surgut, in northwestern Siberia, after they were detained on February 15 on extremism charges.

The statement says that those detained refused to answer police questions about other members of the congregation and after the only legal representative left the interrogation room, the officers "tied the victims’ hands behind their backs, beat them, poured water on their naked bodies, and subjected them to electric shocks."

"The torture lasted for several hours," the statement said.

According to the statement, 19 members of the congregation were charged with the alleged organization of extremist activities and at least three of them remain behind bars.

The released members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses turned to medical institutions to document bodily harm sustained during torture, the statement says, adding that the group will seek justice in court.

The Investigative Committee rejected the Jehovah's Witnesses' statement.

Homes Raided 

A committee spokesman in the Khanty-Mansi region, Oleg Menshikh, told the TASS news agency on February 20 that no law was violated during the interrogations.

"Nobody tortured them. There was no physical or psychological pressure on them," TASS quoted Menshikh as saying.

Police have started raiding the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in that region and in the region of Mordovia on February 7, a day after a Russian court convicted Dennis Christensen, a Danish member of the religious group, on an extremism charge and sentenced him to six years in prison in the western city of Oryol.

Human rights organizations, the European Union, and United States officials have condemned Christensen’s conviction and called on Russia to respect freedom of religion.

Christensen was arrested in Oryol in May 2017, a month after Russia's Supreme Court labeled the religious group an extremist organization and banned it.

He was the first Jehovah’s Witness to be detained in Russia following the ban.

Since then, dozens of other members of the group in different Russian regions have been detained and face similar extremism charges.

With reporting by TASS

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When more of these things get out, it is going to spark rage and tension from those who had people suffer in those prisons and had to endure such vile treatment. As of late, Russian torture claims wit

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Guest Indiana

Babushkin Demands Halt to Surgut Tortures

In the latest protest reacting to the stories of torture emerging from the interior rooms of the Investigative Committee of Russia in Surgut,  Andrey Babushkin, Chairman of the Permanent Commission to Support Public Monitoring Commissions (PMC), Penitentiary System Reform, and Crime Prophylactic, as well as a member of the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, on Feb. 25, 2019, demanded a stop to the Inquisition-style tactics of security officials there. Mr. Babushkin directed his appeal to the Prosecutor General, the head of the Investigative Committee, as well as the chairman of the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC) for the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area.

In his statement, the prominent human rights activist described what happened to the detained Jehovah's Witnesses in the hands of the Investigative Committee of Russia in Surgut. Mr.  Babushkin demanded to initiate a criminal case against the security officials for abuse of office and the organization of the criminal community (articles 286.3 and 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and called for action ending their criminal activity.

In addition, he asked the local PMC to visit Sergey Loginov, one of the Witnesses held in the detention center, and interview him about torture.

Early in the morning of February 15, 2019, mass searches were held in the homes of citizens suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Surgut and the town of Lyantor (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area). At least seven of Jehovah’s Witnesses were subjected to torture on the first floor of the Russian Investigative Committee’s building in Surgut. A criminal case against 20 local residents, including one woman, accusing them of organizing and participating in an extremist organization was opened. On February 16, 2019, the hotline of the Investigative Committee of Russia (RFIC) received a request to open an investigation because of torture. On February 17, 2019, a local court decided to impose upon three of them a preventive measure in the form of pre-trial detent

https://jw-russia.org/en/news/19022717-636.html

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ECHR Imposes Interim Measures in Response to Torture Complaint From Surgut

 

On February 26, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered the Russian government to immediately send 57-year-old Sergey Loginov—one of seven Jehovah’s Witnesses who reported torture in the building of the Investigative Committee—for an independent medical examination. Of the seven tortured, Sergey Loginov is the only one who remains in custody.

According to the order handed down by the court in Strasbourg, the Government of Russia has until March 20, 2019, to comply. The order states that Mr Loginov be immediately examined by medical doctors independent from both the Russian Investigative Committee and the penitentiary system. This is to be done with a view to determining the current state of the applicant’s physical and psychological health and ascertaining any harm to his health suffered as a result of the alleged torture on February 15 and 16, 2019. The medical professionals are to establish whether Mr. Loginov is in need of medical treatment and whether he is able, due to his current state of health, to remain in pre-trial detention. If any treatment is required, they are to determine whether it could be administered from within the pre-trial detention facility. The Russian Government has until March 11, 2019, to provide the Court with the medical certificates issued by these medical doctors.

Earlier in Surgut (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area) mass searches and detentions of citizens suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses took place. At least seven people reported that they were tortured during interrogations in the building of the Investigative Committee. On February 16, 2019, the hotline of the Investigative Committee of Russia received a request to open an investigation regarding the torture of Sergey Loginov that took place during the intervals between interrogations. Shortly thereafter lawyers prepared and filed a complaint to the European Court. (Loginov and Others v. Russia / case no. 10618/19).

https://jw-russia.org/en/news/19022715-627.html

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On Allegations of Torture against Jehovah’s Witnesses Members Detained in Russia

 

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Harry Kamian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
February 28, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Chair, the United States is gravely concerned by reports of torture committed by law enforcement officials against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a peaceful religious group that poses no threat to Russia’s national security. Russia’s Supreme Court ruling that the group constitutes a dangerous extremist organization is absurd. At least 50 Jehovah’s Witnesses are under house arrest or imprisoned on charges of “extremism” that could lead to significant jail time.

We are deeply troubled by reports that in a series of early-morning raids in Surgut, Russia on February 15, police detained at least seven Jehovah’s Witnesses, who subsequently claimed to have been subjected to torture.

Victims described beatings, electrocution, suffocation, and other vicious acts committed during interrogation. Some of those detained remain in custody.

Torture is forbidden in all places, at all times, with no exceptions. All OSCE participating States have made commitments and undertaken obligations to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

We call on Russia to investigate allegations of torture by its authorities and to provide legal remedies to victims. We further call upon Russia to cease misusing its purported anti-terrorism and so-called anti-“extremism” legislation to target peaceful members of religious groups. Finally, we urge Russia to immediately release all prisoners held in detention for exercising their human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, a right enshrined in the Russian constitution.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

 

Read more: https://osce.usmission.gov/on-allegations-of-torture-against-jehovahs-witnesses-members-detained-in-russia/

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When more of these things get out, it is going to spark rage and tension from those who had people suffer in those prisons and had to endure such vile treatment. As of late, Russian torture claims with evidence  by form of media from months/years ago have been surfacing up recently by those who took ear to this situation regarding JWs.

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