Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia (20.02.2019) – – On February 20, 2019, an application was submitted to the Investigative Committee of Russia (RFIC) for the withdrawal of the Surgut investigative group, naming head of the investigative department for the city of Surgut Ermolaev, investigators Tkach, Adiyatullin, Gaisin, Bogoderov, Asmolov, and other law enforcement officials. The application stated that reasonable grounds exist that the investigators tortured Jehovah’s Witnesses in their custody.

As previously reported,  at least seven peaceful Jehovah’s Witnesses were subjected to torture — electric shocks, suffocation and beatings carried out by those trained to inflict pain with minimal marking or evidence left behind. After being tortured, officers interrogated the Witnesses, demanding: “Where are the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses held? Who attends the meetings? What are the elders’ last names? What is your mobile phone password?”

Previously, one believer turned to the RFIC hotline to report torture, but this only led to his arrest. On February 16, 2019, the hotline received a request to open an investigation against Dmitry Leonidovich Asmolov, investigator of the Surgut Department of the RFIC, because of torture that took place during the intervals between his interrogations.

After the torture of 57-year-old Sergey Loginov was reported to the hotline, he was immediately released, but shortly thereafter he was again detained and then forced to write under torture a statement claiming that no one had tortured him. He remains in detention. No further information has been provided regarding the current situation of Mr. Loginov, nor the other two men arrested after the initial interrogations, 42-year-old Yevgeny Fedin, and 52-year-old Arthur Severinchik.


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