MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a request of a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses extremist religious organization (outlawed in Russia) to introduce interim measures after claims that its followers had been tortured by Russian investigators in Siberia, the Russian Justice Ministry said on Thursday.
"The European Court of Human Rights has notified the Russian Justice Ministry about its refusal to satisfy a request by Sergey Loginov on applying urgent interim measures as part of the case after his claims of having been tortured by representatives of Russian investigative bodies during criminal prosecution," the ministry said in a statement on its website.
According to the ECHR’s practice, interim measures are urgent measures that apply only where there is "an imminent risk of irreparable harm."
The ECHR suggested that Russia’s authorities should carry out an independent medical examination to confirm or refute Loginov’s claims.
A medical examination, conducted jointly by the Justice Ministry and the prison authority, the Federal Penitentiary Service, involving independent specialists, did not confirm any signs of torture, the ministry stated. After considering this evidence and legal arguments, the ECHR did not find any reasons to satisfy Loginov’s request.
In mid-February, three members of Jehovah’s Witnesses were detained in Siberia’s Surgut. A criminal investigation was launched against them into launching extremist organization’s activities. The followers of this group were suspected of attending secret meetings, distributing outlawed books and recruiting new members.
Earlier, Jehovah’s Witnesses said on its website that after searches on February 15 its followers were brought to the Investigative Committee building, where they allegedly had their hands bound with duct tape, beaten up, stripped naked and tortured with electric shock. Several people were reportedly injured and complained to watchdog officials. The regional branch of the Investigative Committee refuted the torture reports.
Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international religious organization that supports offbeat views on the essence of the Christian faith and provides special interpretations of many commonly accepted notions.
In August 2017, the Russian Justice Ministry included the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization and its 395 local religious branches to the list of organizations that are outlawed nationwide. The Russian Supreme Court satisfied the claim of the Justice Ministry to shut down the organization on April 20, 2017.