Briefing paper on torture and other ill-treatment: European Union Advocacy Meetings
In recent years the government of Tajikistan has taken some positive steps to prevent and eradicate torture. However, as recently as in his February 2015 report the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture raised concern about continuing torture and ill-treatment and about impunity for the perpetrators. Continued international attention and political will of the Tajikistani authorities are needed to achieve lasting results.
Noteworthy positive steps taken by Tajikistan in recent years include introducing an article on torture in the Criminal Code (Article 143) with a definition of torture that is in line with that contained in the Convention against Torture. As a result, a total of four criminal cases were opened under this article. In 2014, the families of two men who died in custody were the first known cases to have been awarded compensation for torture or other forms of ill-treatment by the courts. From 2011 to the end of 2014, members of the NGO Coalition against Torture in Tajikistan documented more than two dozen cases each year of men, women and children who were allegedly subjected to torture or other ill-treatment. In the first three months of 2015 the Coalition registered ten cases.
Only in a small number of these cases, official investigations were opened, and in many cases – whilst the incidence of torture or other ill-treatment would appear to have been confirmed, at least partly – only disciplinary proceedings have been imposed. It is believed that many victims of torture did not file complaints for fear of reprisals.
This briefing highlights three key areas of concern that perpetuate torture in Tajikistan: the persistent practice of incommunicado detention at the onset of detention, the lack of an independent investigation mechanism, and lenience towards tortures in domestic legislation. In this briefing we make three recommendations on how to tackle these key concerns that, if implemented, would significantly reduce incidents of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in the country.
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