FEBRUARY 17, 2020
On February 6, 2020, in Orenburg, Russia, prison guards of Penal Colony No. 1 severely beat with clubs five of our brothers, Aleksey Budenchuk, Gennadiy German, Roman Gridasov, Feliks Makhammadiyev, and Aleksey Miretskiy. Brother Makhammadiyev was hospitalized after experiencing a broken rib, a punctured lung, as well as damage to his kidney. As for Brothers Budenchuk, German, Gridasov, and Miretskiy, after being beaten, they were sent to a punishment cell on absurd, fabricated charges. Among the outrageous charges was smoking cigarettes—a practice prohibited by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As previously reported, on September 19, 2019, Judge Dmitry Larin of the Leninsky District Court of Saratov convicted the five brothers, along with a sixth brother, Konstantin Bazhenov. They were sentenced to prison for terms of two to three and a half years. On December 20, 2019, the Saratov Regional Court denied their appeal. Several weeks later, all six brothers were transferred to prison. Brother Bazhenov was sent to Penal Colony No. 3 in the Ulyanovsk Region, so he was not included in the torture at Penal Colony No. 1.
As soon as the five brothers arrived on February 6, 2020, at Penal Colony No. 1, they were beaten. They were not examined by doctors until the next day when it was discovered that Brother Makhammadiyev had a high fever, and blood was found in his urine. The prison administration called an ambulance only after forcing Brother Makhammadiyev to sign a document indicating that he merely “slipped in the bathroom and fell.” Brother Makhammadiyev was hospitalized and underwent surgery—a stent was inserted into his lung to drain accumulated fluids. Tests also showed that Brother Makhammadiyev was suffering from starvation, since the prison administration confiscated the special food he needs to cope with celiac disease.
Our hearts go out to our brothers in Russia as they endure such unjust and inhumane treatment. Yet, we are confident that Jehovah will continue to support them as they endure faithfully.—Philippians 1:27, 28.