In the photo: The defendants in the high-profile case in Surgut received copies of the indictment - 4 boxes each. September 2021

Criminal trial

Trial Begins in Surgut in the Case Against 19 Jehovah's Witnesses, Six of Whom Were Tortured During Interrogation

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area

On October 11, 2021, the criminal case against 19 Jehovah's Witnesses from Surgut and one person mistakenly accepted by the investigation as a Jehovah's Witness was transferred to the Surgut City Court. The case has been assigned to judge Dmitriy Lupin.

There were 19 believers in the dock, aged 22 to 71. Among them is one woman.

In 2019, Surgut became the first city in modern Russia where the Witnesses were brutally tortured by the security forces. During interrogation in the Investigative Committee, seven detained men (six of them are now in the status of defendants) were tortured with electric current, beaten and strangled until they lost consciousness, forcing them to incriminate themselves and their loved ones. From the stories of the victims, it follows that among the torturers there was a special group of security officials specially assigned to the region, who have the practice of beating testimonies from detainees.

Victims of torture filed complaints with the European Court of Human Rights, reported the incident to the Human Rights Ombudsman for the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, employees of the offices of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, as well as Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Council under the President of Russia for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC). The latter said: : "We cannot allow such an evil to exist on our land."

Nevertheless, until now none of the officers involved in the torture in Surgut has been brought to justice. Impunity led to the subsequent torture of Jehovah's Witnesses by the security forces in other regions. The last of the recorded cases occurred in Irkutsk during searches of believers.

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.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area
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:
February 11, 2019
Current case stage:
verdict did not take effect
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)
Сургутский городской суд
Дмитрий Люпин
Case History