Wednesday, July 11, 2012 -
Tajikistan’s law enforcement authorities are virtually unrestrained in their use of torture and abuse against detainees, Amnesty International said in its latest report on the repressive ex-Soviet Central Asian republic.
The rights organization called on authorities to roundly condemn and stamp out the practice which it said is thriving in a climate of widespread corruption and impunity.
The report, entitled “Shattered Lives: Torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials in Tajikistan”, was compiled from investigations into allegations by people held in police detention.
"The torture methods used by the security forces are shocking: electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings, burning with cigarettes, rape and threats of rape," Rachel Bugler, AI expert on Tajikistan, said in the report.
"The only escape is to sign a confession or sometimes pay a bribe," she added.
Bugler said the victims have suffered serious physical injuries and post-traumatic stress that has lasting repercussions on their lives and the lives of their families.
Furthermore, victims of torture are often afraid to speak out about their ordeal and suffer further punishment from police authorities when they do.
Tajik police officers are unofficially encouraged to apply torture and other abuses in order to meet targets for the number of crimes they need to solve, according to Amnesty.
The report noted that although torture has newly been defined as a criminal act, safeguards against the practice are often not implemented.
“Senior government officials frequently state their commitment to human rights, to the protection of human rights, the rule of law and order. However, in the face of reality these words ring hollow,” Bugler said.