Voronezh troops using torture on Jehovah's Witnesses


Credo.Press, 7 August 2020


Voronezh Jehovah's Witnesses Yury Galka and Anatoly Yagupov described inhumane treatment on the part of personnel of law enforcement agencies through their lawyer, who visited them in a SIZO. They said that on the day of their arrest, they were smothered with bags and also beaten, with demands for "confessions." Earlier, believers Bokov, Katyrov, and Korol, who were detained in the same place, described beatings.


Lawyers tried to get to Yagupov and Galka from the time they were put into the SIZO No. 1 for Voronezh oblast, but the defense lawyers were permitted to meet with them only after two weeks, on 29 and 30 July, a correspondent of the portal Credo.Press reports, with reference to a source among Russian Jehovah's Witnesses.


According to their testimony, 44-year-old Yury Galka has a broken rib. Torture began during a search and continued during interrogation. F.S.B. officers twisted his arms behind his back and put a bag on his head, tightening it until Yury began to suffocate. During this time he was beaten, breaking his rib. They demanded that he confess to extremism. The broken rib was discovered when he was put into the SIZO, but personnel at the facility took advantage of Yury's state of shock and wrote in the documents that he had received the injury from daily life.


Fifty-one-year-old Anatoly Yagupov was tortured in a similar manner. They put a bag on his head and beat him on the chair on which interrogators had placed the detainee.


In all, now, five Voronezh Jehovah's Witnesses have complained about torture on the part of security forces. Despite the torture, the Voronezh believers have refused to acknowledge they are guilty of "extremism." They have registered their wounds at medical institutions in order to protest the actions of law enforcers.


As reported earlier, on 13 July more than 110 searches were conducted in homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in Voronezh and the region. All 396 religious organizations of this confession in the R.F. were ruled to be extremist and liquidated in 2017 by the Supreme Court. (tr. by PDS, posted 8 August 2020)

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