ABOUT THE PROGRESS OF INQUIRY CONDUCTED ON CLAIMS OF PARTICIPANTS IN INVESTIGATIVE ACTIONS IN CRIMINAL CASE ON ILLEGAL ACTIVITY OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN SURGUT
Official website of Investigative Committee of Russia (S.K.R.) for Khanti-Mansi autonomous district, 27 March 2019
In February 2019, in the course of monitoring news media and social networks, reports were disovered about the possible use of physical force on participants in investigative actions within the context of the investigation of a criminal case regarding illegal activity by the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses on the territory of Surgut. By order of the acting director of the investigative directorate, a procedural inquiry was begun regarding this matter, which was conducted on order by the investigators of the department for examining especially important cases.
In addition, statements from nine citizens were received from other law enforcement agencies, in which similar information was reported about unidentified personnel, during investigative actions, using physical force and torture on them for the purpose of extracting confessions.
In the course of the inquiry it was established that because of the manifestation of active resistance against several participants in investigative actions before the conduct of a search, personnel of law enforcement agencies used martial arts techniques, which they are authorized to do, which caused mild bruises and abrasions on legs.
The other bodily injuries to which the complainants referred, including injuries in the form of burns supposedly received by the impact of an electric shock device, according to the conclusions of a forensic medical expert examination that was conducted could not have been received on the day that the investigative actions occurred in the circumstances indicated in the claims, but they were caused later. At the same time, no bodily injuries of any kind were found by a forensic medical examination on several of the complainants who reported the use of force on them.
At the present time, the inquiry is continuing, although the investigation thinks that the actions of members of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Surgut for disseminating information about the violation of their rights and the use of force are an attempt to influence the investigation and are aimed at discrediting law enforcement agencies.
It should be noted that investigative agencies often confront such an "active line of defense" by subjects in criminal cases. And with regard to each complaint against the actions of investigators and each claim about the violation of rights by personnel of an investigative department there must be a thorough inquiry. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 March 2019)
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