Tajik Ombudsman calls on the government to investigate suspect’s death

Tajik Ombudsman calls on the government to investigate suspect’s death

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 9 /Trend/

Tajikistan's Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) Zafar Alizoda considers that the death of Bahromiddin Shodiyev allegedly tortured in police detention must be thoroughly investigated, Asia-Plus reported.

"Our office is currently studying this issue. We are considering our opportunities in order to make an appropriate statement and we will meet with the bodies that are investigating this incident," Alizoda told Asia-Plus in an interview.

Alizoda noted that current powers of Tajikistan's Commissioner fro Human Rights are not so wide. "We are currently preparing amendments to the country' law on the Human Rights Ombudsman," said the ombudsman. "One of these amendments provides for giving the ombudsman the right to familiarize himself with criminal cases that are under investigation. This issue was discussed with all relevant ministries and agencies and they supported us."

"Of course, the ombudsman can make a statement or offer recommendations regarding one or another issue but we do not have such powers on criminal cases," Alizoda said, reminding that another detainee, Safarali Sangov, died in almost identical circumstances in March this year.

"I met with the Prosecutor-General over the case of Safarali Sangov and followed the investigation process. Our representative has attended the trial," said the ombudsman. "This is the second case over the short space of time and we have to study this issue seriously."

He added that the Prosecutor-General's Office has instituted sixteen criminal proceedings against law enforcement officers over use of torture. "Thirteen of those cases have already been considered by courts and those guilty have been punished," Alizoda said, expressing hope that separate article on torture would improve fight against that phenomenon.

We will recall that the NGO Coalition against Torture -- which consists of several independent law consultancy groups such as Amparo, Avesta, the Union of Lawyers of Sughd Province, and the Independent Center for Human Rights -- released a statement on November 3, in which it urges the authorities to investigate Bahromiddin Shodiyev's death.

Shodiyev's mother, Niyozbibi Bouriyeva, says Bahromiddin told her that police officers severely beat him making him admit to the crimes he did not commit. "He said they used beatings and electric shock to extort confessions," said she. "He said police taped his mouth shut so no one could hear him screaming. He was practically unconscious when heard that policemen were agreeing that if anything goes wrong they will say that he sustained injuries while jumping out the second-floor window." Bahromiddin Shodiyev died 10 days later in hospital.

Meanwhile, police say Shodiyev, who they suspected of having committed a series of thefts, tried to escape by jumping out of a second-floor window during his interrogation at the police station.

The Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloyev says Shodiyev had three previous convictions. "He was detained on October 19 on suspicion of having committed a series of thefts. "All the facts were proved and Shodiyev admitted to the thefts," said Asadulloyev, "During the interrogation, he jumped out of the second-floor window. Shodiyev was taken to the National Medical Center on October 20 where he died on October 30 of tuberculosis and splanchnopathy."

Physicians from the National Medical Center, however, say Shodiyev had serious craniocerebral injury and intracerebral hematoma.

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