2019-02-20 16:08:00

Russian Investigative Committee denies reports of Jehovah's Witnesses members' torture in Surgut

Khanty-Mansiysk, February 20, Interfax - The investigative authorities are unaware about the torture of members of Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious organization that is banned in Russia, who had been detained in Surgut earlier, Oleg Menshikh, the senior aide to the head of the Russian Investigative Committee's branch for the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District, told Interfax.

"We are refuting these reports [of torture]. No one, - neither suspects, nor witnesses, - officially reported torture to us," he said.

According to Menshikh, claims that Jehovah's Witnesses members had been allegedly tortured during questioning at the Investigative Committee appeared on a website.

"This [website] is not within our [Investigative Committee's] purview. But the organization is banned in Russia, their website should also be banned by a court," Menshikh said.

Local media said earlier citing the website Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia that the detained members of the organization had been tortured during questioning in Surgut.

In February, the Surgut law enforcement authorities closed down the local cell of Jehovah's Witnesses. Its most active members were detained and a criminal case was opened.