At least seven of Jehovah’s Witnesses were subjected to torture—electric shocks, suffocation, and cruel beatings—on the first floor of the Russian Investigative Committee’s building at ul. Ostrovskogo, d. 47, in Surgut. While these persons were being tortured, their interrogators continued to interrogate them, demanding to know: “Where are meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses held? Who attends the meetings? What are the elders’ last names? What is your mobile phone password?”
On February 15, 2019, mass searches in Surgut started in the early morning hours. Worshippers were taken to the Investigative Committee offices. Investigators began interrogating the Witnesses, who refused to disclose details about their fellow worshippers. After the only legal representative in the room left, victims report that the following occurred: agents put a bag over the victims’ heads, sealed it with tape, tied their hands behind their backs, and beat them. Then, after stripping the Witnesses naked and dousing them with water, the agents shocked them with stun guns. This sadistic torture lasted for about two hours.
At least three Witnesses are still behind bars.
Additionally, after the mass searches were completed, the Russian authorities initiated criminal cases against a total of 19 Witnesses for so-called “organizing an extremist organization.”
Those who have been released have had their injuries documented by medical professionals and have filed complaints with supervisory agencies.
The Witnesses will pursue all available legal remedies for this crime, since such an egregious abuse of authority is punishable under the Russian Criminal Code. Additionally, The Russian Federation is subject to several international bodies that protect individuals from torture.