Minister of Justice: All cases of torture and deaths in the custody will be thoroughly investigated

Minister of Justice: All cases of torture and deaths in the custody will be thoroughly investigated

Over the last year, there were numerous media reports about torture and deaths in custody, - said the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan Rustam Mengliev during the press conference on January 22, 2013.

In this regard, he commented only one case in which the court ruling was issued - the case of Achike Kayumov who died in Vakhdat Colony last summer. “According to the decision of Vahdat court from last October Davlatali Rakhimov, the former Head of the Colony was convicted under article 322 (negligence) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to pay a fine of 10 thousand Tajik Somonies. The prison’s hospital doctor Saidhon Rasulov was convicted under article 129 part 2 (Inadequate performance of professional duties) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to three years” – informed Mengliev. At the same time he pointed that investigation on the remaining cases, including the death of Hamza Ikromzoda who died as result of torture in the colony of Dushanbe still continues”.” Let the prosecution finish the investigation and the court will identify the finds the perpetrators. We are waiting for the results of the investigation”, - said Mengliev.

According to the Minister they also started the examination of the video which was released in internet and by several news agencies containing the testimonies of the prisoners from Khujand colony about torture and severe beatings of the inmates by the prison staff demonstrating the signs of beatings. “We, lawyers are very suspicious and should recheck every fact”, - said   the Minister.

Concerning the regular access for the civil society representatives to conduct monitoring in the penitentiary facilities, the Head of the Ministry of Justice stated that “the main issue is the legislation”

“The law defines the range of persons who have access to the prison. Despite this the Main Department for Execution of Criminal Sentences (GUIN) of the Ministry of Justice closely cooperates with civil society organizations that have the capacity in cooperation with the Ombudsman and GUIN visit prisons. There is a conceptual issue -whether there will be a permanent access to the prisons. This issue requires a thorough examination. We will be working in this direction. Nobody rejects the issues related to the fight against torture. It needs some time. Last year the country was visited by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, and his preliminary evaluations was not bad at all. Naturally, he pointed out the flaws that exist in this area too”, - said Mengliev.

Regarding the access to the detention places for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the negotiations are ongoing - said the Minister. “Firstly, we come from the ICRC mandate itself. Check their mandate, please, which is enshrined in their charter. The second point - we want the ICRC, to act similar to other organizations in the frame of the country legislation. In case the legislation will be changed we will allow them to work on the new system. We need to find a common ground, and we will find it”, - said the Minister.

While answering the other questions, the Minister informed that the information about the number of prisoners is listed as information constituting a state secret. However, he said that at the moment there are about 200 women and 47 minors serves their terms in prions.

Nargis Hamrabaeva, "Asia-Plus"