On August 22, 2019, the Khanty-Mansi Court of Appeal eased the measure of restraint for Andrey Sazonov from house arrest to ban of certain actions. Judge Natalya Pashayeva ruled that "the decision of the trial court is not based on objective data and contradicts the articles of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation."
Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area
“We must get to the bottom of the truth.” In Surgut, the Head of the Human Rights Council Interviewed Witnesses Who Were Tortured
On August 14, 2019, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC), met with local Jehovah's Witnesses in Surgut (Yugra) who officially announced the torture inflicted on them by law enforcement officers. The meeting was also attended by the head of the Investigative Committee in Yugra, the first deputy prosecutor of Yugra, the deputy chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Yugra, the deputy governor of Yugra and the mayor of the city of Surgut. On the part of the Witnesses, 28 people were present — victims, as well as members of their families who helped them cope with the psychological consequences of the experience. After the meeting, Mikhail Fedotov said: "My conclusion: We must get to the bottom of the truth. The President is very negative about the facts of torture. We remember his words that this is an absolutely unacceptable practice."
On March 27, 2019, Superior Court of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug satisfied the appeal complaint of Vyacheslav Boronos and Yevgeniy Kayryak. Warrants to search their apartments were declared illegal due to procedural violations.
Sergey Loginov and Yevgeniy Fedin, who had been in detention in Surgut since February 15, were released on April 11, 2019. The court imposed a ban forbidding them to leave the house at nighttime, to communicate with individuals involved in the case, or to use the mail, phone, and Internet.
The European Court withdrew the urgent interim measures regarding one of Jehovah's Witnesses in Surgut who complained of torture (such measures are usually imposed when there is a threat to the life of the applicant). However, the withdrawal does not mean that the ECHR recognized a failure to prove torture.
On February 28, 2019, in the cities of Nefteyugansk and Pyt-Yakh (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area - Yugra), located near Surgut, searches were held in the homes of citizens suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Andrey Babushkin, Chairman of the Permanent Commission to Support Public Monitoring Commissions, Penitentiary System Reform, and Crime Prophylactic, directed his appeal to the Prosecutor General and the head of the Investigative Committee.