In the photo: Timofey Zhukov

Legal Victories

One of Jehovah's Witnesses Who Was Forcibly Placed in a Psychiatric Hospital, Obtains Compensation for Moral Damage

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area

On October 19, 2021, the district court of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area collected 28,500 rubles from the Russian Federation in favor of Timofey Zhukov, who was forcibly hospitalized for a psychiatric examination only because of his faith. This decision coincided with the beginning of the trial of him and 18 other Jehovah's Witnesses in Surgut.

A criminal case against believers from this city was initiated in February 2019. Then they were searched, and some of them reported that they were tortured by law enforcement officers right in the building of the Investigative Committee.

On January 16, 2020, the Surgut City Court issued a ruling according to which Timofey Zhukov was to be sent to a psychiatric hospital in Yekaterinburg. One of the “grounds” for the forced placement of a believer in a hospital was that Zhukov used Article 51 of the RF Constitution during interrogation, which allegedly allowed the investigation to question his sanity.

The believer appealed against this decision, so it did not enter into legal force. Despite this, on February 4, 2020, law enforcement officers found and kidnapped Timofey Zhukov. They took him to the hospital at night, which was unacceptable, since according to the law the drive cannot be made in the period from 22:00 to 06:00. During the 17-hour journey from Khanty-Mansiysk to Yekaterinburg, Zhukov experienced severe stress, as well as pain in his legs and back.

For the next 14 days, Zhukov was forcibly held in a psychiatric hospital. There, his life and health were constantly in danger, since the patients of his department were there in connection with the commission of serious crimes due to their serious mental disabilities. There were up to 9 people in the ward with Zhukov, most of them have from 3 to 6 convictions. Particularly violent patients were tied to beds with ropes. On the floor above, there were deranged patients who constantly made noise and screams, which made it difficult to sleep at night.

According to the law, staying in a hospital is equated to detention, although only a written undertaking not to leave was assigned to Zhukov as a preventive measure. Thus, he suffered serious physical and mental harm, which was aggravated by the fact that a large circle of people became aware of his stay in a psychiatric hospital, including at his place of work — in the field of jurisprudence.

Currently, 23 residents of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area — Ugra are subjected to unfair criminal prosecution for their belief in Jehovah God. Increased attention to Surgut was attracted by the torture to which the security forces subjected civilians only because of their faith.

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