FEBRUARY 18, 2020
Law enforcement officers in Chita, Russia, tortured Brother Vadim Kutsenko, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, late into the evening of February 10, 2020. The officers repeatedly beat and choked Brother Kutsenko and applied electric shocks to his stomach and leg. While doing so, they demanded that Brother Kutsenko give them information about fellow believers.
Earlier that morning, Federal Security Services (FSB) officers searched nearly 40 homes of Witnesses in Chita, including Brother Kutsenko’s residence. At 11:00 p.m., Russian special police forces arrested him at the home of his mother-in-law. The officers handcuffed him, covered his head, and brought him to a nearby forest where they tortured him. Despite the torture, Brother Kutsenko refused to divulge information about fellow Witnesses. Realizing that these tactics were unsuccessful, the officers took him to the investigator’s office for further questioning.
Brother Kutsenko was subsequently placed in temporary detention with three other brothers who were arrested following the raids in Chita—Sergey Kirilyuk, Pavel Mamalimov, and Vladimir Yermolayev.
Two days later, the Ingodinskiy District Court ruled to keep Brothers Kutsenko, Kirilyuk, and Mamalimov in temporary detention for 72 hours. The court released Brother Yermolayev from detention and placed him under house arrest.
On February 15, Brother Vadim Kutsenko and the two brothers were released because the investigator did not have enough evidence to charge them. The investigator released the brothers without a court hearing and without imposing any restrictions on them.