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Human Rights

ECHR imposed interim measures on a complaint of torture in Surgut

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area,   France

On February 26, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered the Russian government to urgently send for a medical examination 57-year-old Sergey Loginov, one of 7 Surgut residents who reported torture in the building of the Investigative Committee. Sergey Loginov is the only one of these seven who is in custody.

According to the order of the Strasbourg court, the Russian government must send Sergey Loginov for examination to a medical institution independent of the Investigative Committee and the penitentiary authorities by March 20, 2019, in order to examine his physical and psychological condition, as well as the harm allegedly caused to him by torture on February 15 and 16, 2019. Doctors must determine whether he needs treatment and whether his condition is compatible with his further stay behind bars. By March 11, 2019, opinions prepared by independent doctors must be submitted to the European Court.

The complaint "Loginov and Others v. Russia" was prepared and submitted to the European Court in a short time, it was assigned the number 10618/19.

Three believers, Sergey Loginov, Yevgeny Fedin and Artur Severinchik, were sent to jail in connection with this case. They are in a pre-trial detention center in Nizhnevartovsk (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area). There were no reports that Yevgeny Fedin and Artur Severinchik were tortured. Earlier in Surgut (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug), mass searches and detentions of citizens suspected of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses took place. At least 7 people reported that they were beaten and tortured during interrogations in the building of the Investigative Committee. In total, 20 local residents, including a woman, became defendants in this case. On February 16, 2019, the hotline of the Investigative Committee of Russia received an appeal with a request to take action in connection with reports of torture of Sergey Loginov.

Law enforcers mistakenly mistake citizens' religion for participation in the activities of an extremist organization, referring to a court decision to liquidate and ban the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses organizations in Russia.

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Case of Loginov and Others in Surgut

Case history
In February 2019, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against 18 men and 1 woman from Surgut (among them was a man mistaken for a Jehovah’s Witness). Their homes were searched. During the interrogations, 7 believers were subjected to violence. Artur Severinchik was sent to a pre-trial detention center for 29 days, and Yevgeny Fedin and Sergey Loginov - for 56. Timofey Zhukov was illegally placed in a psychiatric hospital for 14 days. Believers complained about the use of torture to the Investigative Committee, the ECHR and the Commissioner for Human Rights, a press conference was held with the participation of human rights defenders, but none of the security forces was ever brought to justice. In October 2021, the case materials were submitted to the court. The prosecutor requested imprisonment for the defendants for a term of 3 years and 3 months to 8.5 years in prison, and for Loginov - 9.5 years, which was the most severe request for punishment for believing in Jehovah God in modern Russia.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area
Locality:
Surgut
Suspected of:
delivering speeches, engaging in the Witnesses' public preaching activity with local members, meeting with Bible education volunteers and appointed congregation assistants, and having as one objective the organizing of appointed men in the Vzlyotnove Congregation
Court case number:
42002007709000023
Initiated:
February 11, 2019
Current case stage:
Appeal
Investigating:
Investigative Department of the city of Surgut of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Khanty-Mansi Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.3 (1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
№ 1-27/2023 (1-130/2022; 1-1348/2021)
Court:
Сургутский городской суд
Judge:
Дмитрий Люпин
Background