Russian police accused of brutality against Jehovah's Witness


Za Prava Cheloveka, 2 December 2020


A Jehovah's Witness (the organization is considered extremist in the R.F.) from Moscow, 49-year-old Vardan Zakarian, immediately after release from an I.V.S. [temporary holding cell], filed a complaint about the actions of law enforcers during searches in his apartment and he accused them of a beating. This information appeared on the website of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.


Vardan Zakarian was arrested on 24 November during searches in homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in Moscow. At that time, law enforcers beat him about the head with the butt of an automatic rifle. In addition, Zakarian's blood pressure rose and emergency help was summoned for him. Vardan Zakarian was taken under guard to city clinical hospital No. 20, where he was diagnosed with "traumatic encephalopathy." Relatives were not permitted to enter the man's room and they were not permitted to bring him food.


On 26 November, Zakarian was released from the hospital and taken for questioning by investigator D. Smadich, who charged him. On 27 November, the court extended the measure of restriction for the Jehovah's Witness in the form of detention in custody. From the courthouse Zakarian was taken to a temporary holding cell, where he was subjected to pressure, demanding that he admit that he was guilty of extremist activity.


On 30 November, the Presnya district court of Moscow ordered that Vardan Zakarian be released from prison and placed under house arrest until 23 January.


Zakarian's lawyer reported that the criminal case in the context of which the believer was arrested was opened on the basis of parts 1 and 1.1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Cade of the R.F. and is the work of D.V. Smadich, who is an investigator for especially important cases of the first investigation department of the first directorate for investigation of especially important cases of the chief investigation department of the Investigative Committee of Russia [S.K.R.] for Moscow. The lawyer's attempts to request an explanation of the reason for violence against Vardan Zakarian were ignored by Smadich and he stopped answering the telephone. The lawyer filed an appropriate complaint in the Moscow prosecutor's office. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 December 2020)

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