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Two investigators from the KhMAO sanctioned by the USA because of allegations of torture

Daniil Kuznetsov
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The head of the Surgut Department of the Investigative Committee Vladimir Yermolaev and senior investigator Stepan Tkach were sanctioned by the USA. The investigators  were accused by representatives of Jehovah's Witnesses* of torture. On September 10, website of the US State Department reported this.


«The Department has credible information that Vladimir Yermolayev and Stepan Tkach were involved in torture of sevn Jehovah’s Witnesses* in Surgut, Russia on February 15, 2019 in Surgut. <…> Russia should end its unjust campaign against the Jehovah’s Witnesses and immediately release the over 200 individuals it currently has imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief.  We further call on the Russian authorities to end the culture of impunity for torture and hold officials accountable for abuses, including those perpetrated against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Surgut.» — the press-release of the U.S. officials said.

People mentioned in the U.S. sanctions list are banned from entering the country, and the U.S. companies are not allowed to cooperate with them.

In February, several representatives of the community of Jehovah's Witnesses* from Surgut complained of strangulation and electroshock torture, which were allegedly used on them directly in the building of the Investigative Committee of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (KhMAO). Representatives of the Investigative Committee explained the appearance of injuries on the accused believers’ bodies with the "active resistance" of the latter.

*Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia (Jehovah's Witnesses) is an extremist organization, banned by the decision of the Supreme Court in Russia in 2017.


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