Photo: Александр Фисенко / Фотобанк Лори
Witnesses in Surgut Turned to the Hotline of Investigative Committee of Russia Because of TortureKhanty-Mansi Autonomous Area
On February 16, 2019, the hotline of the Investigative Committee of Russia (RFIC) 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.
On February 15 and 16, 2019, at least seven peaceful Jehovah's Witnesses were subjected to torture — electric shocks, suffocation until they lost consciousness, 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 to know: “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?”
According to those subjected to such injustices, torture was used in the intervals between interrogations, which were carried out by the following investigators: Stepan Tkach, Dmitry Asmolov and Sergey Bogodelov. After the torture, the investigators “helped” the believers come to their senses by offering them water and handkerchiefs and then gently reprimanded them by saying that their silence during the interrogations led to such "trouble."
The Witnesses who were released documented their injuries and appealed to the supervisory authorities, including the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, outlining the circumstances of the incident.
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.