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"Torture Prison" in Russia holds 5 Jehovah's Witnesses

"Torture Prison" in Russia holds 5 Jehovah's Witnesses

According to an online news report published on a Stetson University website, on February 6, 2020, prison guards of Penal Colony No. 1 in Orenburg, beat and tortured five members of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, in a move of utter contempt against the United Nations and their human rights stand.

According to sources, Feliks Makhammadiev was hospitalized and surgery was performed and a tube was inserted into his lung to remove fluid. The source also reported that Makhammadiev was malnourished and is gluten intolerant.

It was reported that the other religious members were moved to a punishment cell under at least one charge or "smoking in the wrong place." A charge Jehovah's Witnesses noted as "absurd" due to the fact that members of Jehovah's Witnesses do not smoke due to religious convictions.

At least 6 believers were sentenced to prison terms on September 2019, by Judge Dmitry Larin of the Lenin district court of Saratov.

Photo Credit:

Left to right: Brothers Aleksey Budenchuk, Aleksey Miretskiy, Feliks Makhammadiyev, Gennadiy German, and Roman Gridasov

The account, which has been confirmed by a news release published by Jehovah's Witnesses, acknowledged that Jehovah's Witness members Aleksey Budenchuk, Aleksey Miretskiy, Feliks Makhammadiyev, Gennadiy German, and Roman Gridasov are the victims of interrogation and illegal beatings, which are violations of the Human Rights Committee Article 19, para. 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states in regards to the exercise of freedom of expression, that even when governments chose to impose restrictions on said freedoms, it must not include corporate punishments, as specified in the 2011 General Comment No. 34, paragraph 26.

Photo Credit: | Feliks Makhammadiyev some two weeks after being severely beaten

For the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses to be banned in Russia goes against the Human Rights Committee, 2011 General Comments No. 34 paragraph 35, which states that "when a State party invokes a legitimate ground for restriction of freedom of expression, it must demonstrate in specific and individualized fashion the precise nature of the threat, and the necessity and proportionality of the specific action taken, in particular by establishing a direct and immediate connection between the expression and the threat."

According to the United Nations report at Geneva, dated February 7, 2019, the government of Russia did not specify how the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses were extremist and therefore did not meet the legal criteria to ban the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

The UN urged the Russian Federation to revise their Federal Law on Combating Extremist Activity with a view to clarifying the vague and open-ended definition of ‘extremist activity’, and ensuring that the definition requires an element of violence or hatred. They also called on the authorities to drop charges against imprisoned Jehovah's Witnesses and to release all those detained for exercising their rights to freedom of religion or belief, the freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”

Russia has failed to comply with the Human Rights Committee request and the Human Rights Committee has failed to hold Russian accountable for their lack of evidence claiming that the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses is a danger and threat to the Russian government.

According to the Human Rights Committee laws, Russia is in violation of those of Article 19, para. 3 and the 2011 General Comments No. 34 paragraph 35.

Perhaps, it is due to the UN's lack of follow through, that the Russian Federation feels emboldened to violate the Human Rights Committee by instituting corporal punishment, as was the case on Feb 6, 2020, in Orenburg when some 5 Jehovah's Witnesses members were beaten and tortured by Russian police.

The United Nations has a clear responsibility to properly investigate the matter and now hold Russia legally accountable for their crimes against the human rights of a peaceful religious minority group and their utter disrespect for the United Nations Human Rights Committee laws.


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