Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia Are Being Tørtured
Two employees of the investigative committee in Surgut banned from entering the United States
The United States has banned two Russian investigative officials from entering the country who are suspected of torturing detained members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization.
The State Department said that under the supervision of these officials, interrogations were conducted in the city of Surgut, Western Siberia, during which at least seven Jehovah’s Witnesses were suffocated, electrocuted and severely beaten..
The State Department reported that the head of the investigative committee in Surgut, Vladimir Yermolaev, the senior investigator of this committee, Stepan Tkach, and their closest relatives, are prohibited from entering the United States..
“Russia must end the unjust campaign against Jehovah’s Witnesses and immediately release more than 200 people who are being held for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief,” said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.
In 2017, Russia declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization.
Founded in the United States in the 19th century, the nonviolent movement often faced problems due to proselytism and the refusal of its members to welcome state symbols, such as flags..
In May, a Russian court upheld the verdict of a Danish Jehovah’s Witness sentenced to six years in prison. This was the first conviction since the organization’s ban in 2017.
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