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Torture still widespread in Tajikistan - Amnesty International
Central Asia | analysis | 12:22, 25 February 2015 | 1620

AKIPRESS.COM - amnesty Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained pervasive and impunity for crimes of torture continued in Tajikistan, said Amnesty International in its new Annual Report 2014-2015.

The Amnesty International Report 2014/15 documents the state of human rights in 160 countries and territories during 2014. "This report also celebrates those who stand up for human rights across the world, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances. It represents Amnesty International’s key concerns throughout the world, and is essential reading for policymakers, activists and anyone with an interest in human rights," said the human rights organisation.

According to the authors of the report, the government of Tajikistan imposed further restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Torture and other ill-treatment remained widespread despite the adoption of an Action Plan to implement recommendations by the UN Committee against Torture in 2013.

Tajikistani NGOs documented 24 cases of torture between 1 December 2013 and 8360 October 2014. However, most relatives and victims declined to pursue complaints for fear of reprisals. Many more cases of torture were likely to have gone unreported. Criminal prosecutions against law enforcement officials suspected of torture were rare, and frequently terminated or suspended before completion.

By the end of the year, only four security officers had been convicted of torture since its criminalization in 2012. Two of them were given suspended sentences. In April, the investigation into allegations involving two officials suspected of torturing Ismonboy Boboev (who died in custody in February 2010) was suspended again, reportedly due to the poor health of one of the suspects.

Tajikistan failed to implement decisions by UN bodies on individual cases. In June 2013, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention urged the release of Ilhom Ismonov, who had been arbitrarily detained, tortured and forced to sign a false confession in November 2010. He remained in detention at the end of the year.

Lawyers were repeatedly denied access to their clients in detention, often for days at a time. This was particularly common in facilities run by the State Committee for National Security. Individuals perceived to be threats to national security, including members of religious movements and Islamist groups or parties, were at particular risk of incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment.

Umed Tojiev, a member of the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP), died in hospital on 19 January. He had been arrested by police on 30 October 2013 in
Sughd region, and charged on 4 November 2013 with organizing a criminal group, but was denied access to his lawyer until 13 November 2013. His family claimed he was subjected to suffocation, sleep and food deprivation and electric shocks. He jumped out of the Sughd police station window on 5 November 2013, breaking both his legs, but was not provided with adequate medical care until 4 January. His death, suspected to be due to criminal negligence, was still under
investigation at the end of the year.

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