We’ve just confirmed that following mass raids in Russia last Friday, at least 7 Jehovah’s Witnesses were later interrogated and subjected to torture—stripped, suffocated, doused with water, shocked with stun guns in the anus area (strength gradually increased), and beaten. This sadistic treatment occurred on the first floor of the Russian Investigative Committee’s office located at ul. Ostrovskogo, d. 47, in the city of Surgut. See below for a more detailed summary.
On February 15, 2019, only nine days after the Dennis Christensen verdict, mass raids/searches were conducted in Lyantor and Surgut, Khanti Mansi Autonomous Region (link to original story). As a result, a criminal case has been initiated against 19 JWs (18 male and 1 female) for “organizing an extremist organization.” However, as noted above, in the city of Surgut, Russian agents tortured JWs during the interrogation process as follows:
In the presence of the on-duty lawyer, video was taken of the investigator questioning each of JWs (some individually, others as a group). When the lawyer left, the investigator had the suspect(s) stay behind. The agents stripped the men naked, put a bag over each suspect’s head, and wrapped it with tape. Agents then tied each suspect’s hands behind his back, smashed his fingers, and beat him on his neck, feet, and kidney area. The agents poured water over the men, shocked them with a stun gun in the anus area—gradually increasing the strength of the shock. After being tortured, the men were repeatedly questioned: e.g., “Where are meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses held? Who comes to the meetings? What are the names of the elders? What is the password on your phone?” The agents tortured the JWs for about two hours, telling the men they brought this on themselves by remaining silent.
At least three Jehovah’s Witnesses are still behind bars. The Witnesses who have since been released had their injuries documented at medical facilities and have filed complaints with supervisory agencies, providing the details of what happened.
As you know, coercion to give statements and abuse of authority (e.g., torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) are punishable under the Russian Criminal Code. Additionally, the Russian Federation is a party to the UN Convention against Torture. Thus, the victims will pursue any and all legal remedies available to them.
“What happened is hard to comprehend,” says Yaroslav Sivulskiy of the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses. “Clearly, even after the Russian and international communities reacted in horror to the cruel sentencing of Dennis Christensen, we now are faced with a desperate and unconscionable attempt by Russian law enforcement to manufacture evidence of alleged criminal activities of Jehovah's Witnesses.”
Link to jw-russia.org news release.