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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                  

Republic of Tajikistan

People in Tajikistan are subject to abuses by security forces and have no meaningful opportunity for recourse. Detainees are frequently beaten in custody to extract confessions.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Tajikistan


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Tajikistan.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Whereabouts Unknown: Tajik Government Critics Face Pressure, Forced Disappearances In Russia

Mirzonabi Kholiqzod & Khiromon Baqozoda, RadioFreeEurope-Radio Liberty, 9 June 2021

[accessed 9 June 2021]

At least 15 Tajik activists have disappeared in Russia in recent years, as Tajik officials hunt down their critics both at home and abroad. Some of them have reappeared in Tajik prisons, while the whereabouts of others remain unknown.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Tajikistan

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 9 August 2021]


The government took no action during the year in response to the preliminary findings of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which visited the country in 2019 for a general inspection. Following its visit, the Working Group noted “little interest” on the part of the government in addressing violations, …, and noted reports of some political opponents whose whereabouts were still unknown after being forcibly returned to the country.


According to the 2019 UN Human Rights Committee (OHCHR) concluding observations, reports of beatings, torture, and other forms of coercion to extract confessions during interrogations were of concern.

During the first six months the year, the Coalition against Torture, a group of local NGOs, documented 25 new cases of mistreatment with some victims alleging severe physical abuse.


The government operated 10 prisons, including one for women, and 12 pretrial detention facilities. Exact conditions in the prisons remained unknown, but detainees and inmates described harsh and life-threatening conditions, including extreme overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.


Pretrial Detention: Defense lawyers alleged that prosecutors often held suspects for lengthy periods and registered the initial arrest only when the suspect was ready to confess. In most cases, pretrial detention lasted from one to three months but could extend as long as 15 months. Law enforcement officials must request an extension from a judge to detain an individual in pretrial detention after two, six, and 12 months. According to the OHCHR concluding observations, authorities tortured defendants in pretrial detention in attempts to extract confessions.

Tajikistan: Release Gravely Ill Activist

Human Rights Watch, Almaty, 20 March 2019

[accessed 19 May 2019]

Human Rights Council, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, A/HRC/WGAD/2018, 10 May 2018

[accessed 19 May 2019]


During a visit on March 9, 2019, Hayit showed his wife, Savrinisso Jurabekova, injuries on his forehead and stomach that he said were caused by beatings from prison officials to punish him for refusing to record videos denouncing Tajik opposition figures abroad. Jurabekova said that her husband said he was not getting adequate medical care, and they both fear he may die in prison as a result of the beatings. Hayit has spent more than three years in prison and is currently being held at detention center (SIZO) number 1 in Dushanbe.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 18 May 2020]


People in Tajikistan are subject to abuses by security forces and have no meaningful opportunity for recourse. Detainees are frequently beaten in custody to extract confessions. Overcrowding and disease contribute to often life-threatening conditions in prisons.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND TORTURE - Torture is often used to coerce confessions and police and investigators routinely deny detainees access to counsel in pretrial custody. On January 19, 34-year-old Umedjon Tojiev, a member of the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, died in a prison hospital in Khujand in northern Tajikistan. His death followed serious injuries he sustained on November 2, 2013, after allegedly jumping from the third floor window of a police station in the northern city of Isfara. According to his lawyer and relatives, Tojiev only leapt as he had been subject to three days of torture by police, including electric shock, asphyxiation with a plastic bag, severe beatings, and sleep deprivation.  Authorities had arrested him on suspicion of belonging to a banned Islamist organization.

Tajikistan: Shattered lives: Torture and other ill-treatment in Tajikistan

Amnesty International AI, 12 July 2012 - Index number: EUR 60/004/2012

[accessed 15 January 2019]

Download the Report at

[accessed 15 January 2019]

In Tajikistan people can be picked up off the streets, detained without formal charges, and subjected to torture or other ill-treatment by police and national security officials. Deaths after torture or other ill-treatment are not investigated effectively. Officials are rarely punished and victims have no access to effective remedy and reparation. This report calls on the authorities in Tajikistan at all levels to comply with the country’s obligations under international human rights law and to swiftly implement specific measures to end torture and other ill-treatment.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/TJK/CO/1 (2006)

[accessed 10 March 2013]


6. There are numerous allegations concerning the widespread routine use of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement and investigative personnel, particularly to extract confessions to be used in criminal proceedings.  Further, there is an absence of preventive measures to ensure effective protection of all members of society from torture and ill treatment.


7. The Committee is also concerned at:

(a) The lack of a legal obligation to register detainees immediately upon loss of liberty, including before their formal arrest and arraignment on charges, the absence of adequate records regarding the arrest and detention of persons, and the lack of regular independent medical examinations;

(b) Numerous and continuing reports of hampered access to legal counsel, independent medical expertise and contacts with relatives in the period immediately following arrest, due to current legislation and actual practice allowing a delay before registration of an arrest and conditioning access on the permission or request of officials;

(c) Reports that unlawful restrictions of access to lawyers, doctors and family by State agents are not investigated or perpetrators duly punished;

(d) The lack of fundamental guarantees to ensure judicial supervision of detentions, as the Procuracy is also empowered to exercise such oversight;

(e) The extensive resort to pretrial detention that may last up to 15 months; and

(f) The high number of deaths in custody.


15. There are continuing and reliable allegations concerning the frequent use of interrogation methods that are prohibited by the Convention by both law enforcement officials and investigative bodies.


17. There is an apparent lack of convictions under article 117 of the Criminal Code of public officials or others acting in an official capacity for acts of torture and ill-treatment and a very small number of convictions under domestic law for violations of the Convention, despite numerous allegations of torture and ill-treatment.  Further, the Committee is concerned about the fact that acts of torture and ill-treatment in the years 1995 to 1999 were immunized from punishment by amnesty laws, thereby entrenching impunity of those responsible for torture, and a lack of reparation for the victims.

Statements made as a result of torture

19. There is a reported failure of judges to dismiss or return cases for further investigation in instances where confessions were obtained as a result of torture, and numerous allegations of statements obtained as a result of torture being used as evidence in legal proceedings.  This is facilitated by the absence of legislation expressly prohibiting the use of evidence obtained as a result of torture in legal proceedings.

Human Rights in Tajikistan

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 14 February 2013]

In January 2011, authorities prosecuted and convicted two law enforcement officers after a man died in custody, but torture remains an enduring problem in Tajikistan.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - After his visit in May, the UN Special Rapporteur stated that torture and other ill-treatment “happens often… in a wide variety of settings”.

In November, the UN Committee against Torture noted “numerous and consistent allegations … of routine use of torture and ill-treatment of suspects, principally to extract confessions … primarily during the first hours of interrogation in police custody as well as in temporary and pre-trial detention facilities run by the State Committee of National Security (SCNS) and the Department for the Fight against Organized Crime.”

Children, elderly people and witnesses in criminal cases reported instances of torture and other ill-treatment. Torture methods included the use of electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings, and burning with cigarettes. There were reports of rape and threats of rape in relation to female and male detainees, as well as psychological torture.

Most instances of torture and other ill-treatment occurred before the suspect was registered at a police station. Suspects were not informed of their rights (to see a lawyer, to notify family or to remain silent) until the detention was registered. This should happen within three hours of being taken to a police station, but in practice often happened much later. There were cases of incommunicado detention for several days or even weeks before registration.

Sherik Karamhudoev, head of the opposition group the Islamic Renaissance Party in Khorog, GBAO, disappeared on 24 July during the clashes. His whereabouts were only made known to his family on 8 August, and he was not allowed to see his defence lawyers for nearly two months. He was reportedly tortured while in the SCNS detention centre in Dushanbe. He was charged with organizing a criminal group and illegal possession of firearms.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 15 January 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 14 February 2013]

[accessed 7 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, government security officials reportedly employed them.

Torture occurred during the year. Security officials, particularly from the Ministry of Interior (MOI), continued touse systematic beatings, sexual abuse, and electric shock to extort confessions during interrogations. During the year several alleged members of Hizb Ut-Tahrir (HT), an extremist Islamist political organization, and members of their families claimed they were tortured and beaten while in police custody (see sections 1.d. and 2.b.).

Beatings and mistreatment were also common in pretrial detention facilities, and the government took minimal action against those responsible for the abuses (see Section 1.d.). Yoribek Ibrohimov "Shaykh" and Muhammadruzi Iskandarov both stated police beat them and subjected them to electric shocks while they were in custody. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) monitors were unable to investigate claims of torture against them and their associates and the government did not launch an official investigation.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 14 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

The judiciary lacks independence. Many judges are poorly trained and inexperienced, and bribery is reportedly widespread. Occasional high-profile anticorruption campaigns have had little real impact. Police often conduct arbitrary arrests and beat detainees to extract confessions. Conditions in prisons—which are overcrowded and disease-ridden—are often life-threatening.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Tajikistan",, [accessed <date>]