Official understatement, or how accessible is the data on torture on the websites of public authorities

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Official understatement, or how accessible is the data on torture on the websites of public authorities

PO “Independent Center for Human Rights” the member of Civil Society Coalition against Torture and impunity in Tajikistan has conducted monitoring of publications on the official sites of public and law enforcement authorities concerning coverage of torture and ill-treatment issues in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

The most important issue in the life of society is the unbiased reflection of publicly available official information, including the use of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials. Indeed, the lack of information often leads to the absence of a system of social norms and values and conflicts of interest between different parties.

In 2019, the Civil Society Coalition Against Torture and Impunity in Tajikistan has recorded 52 appeals on the alleged use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

We have tried to find an answer to the question: how accessible is the data on torture and ill-treatment for 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 on official websites of public authorities?

Figures are only available on Ombudsman’s website

As it turned out, no official information is publicly available on the websites of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General's Office, or the Supreme Court regarding statistics on the potential use of torture in recent years.

The only resource that contains the statistics regarding data from the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Internal Affairs is the website of the Commissioner for Human Rights.

According to their data, in 2019 the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights received 18 appeals (9 in 2016, 9 in 2017, 13 in 2018) concerning alleged cases of torture and ill-treatment and inhuman treatment during detention. In 2019, 13 complaints concerned alleged use of torture (4 complaints of unlawful acts by law enforcement officials, 9 complaints of alleged use of torture in correctional facilities), and 5 complaints concerned alleged ill-treatment.

For example, the Ombudsman's report for 2019, with reference to data from the Office of the Prosecutor General, states: "In 2019, the above-mentioned body received 10 appeals on the alleged use of torture, of which only one was confirmed. In this case, criminal proceedings were instituted against officers of the internal affairs department of Dushanbe, S. A., N. F. and others under article 143, paragraph 2 (b), of the Criminal Code (Torture), who, to obtain confessions, beat and electrocuted the citizen S. H.

The Ombudsman's report for 2019, with reference to data from the Supreme Court, states: "In 2019, two cases involving the use of torture against four persons were heard by judges of the Republic (in 2018, one case against two persons) and punishment was inflicted in the form of imprisonment".

The Ombudsman's report for 2019 states that according to the State Committee for National Security of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Drug Control Agency under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Main Department for Implementation of Criminal Sanctions of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan, no complaints related to the alleged use of torture were filed by convicted persons and their relatives.

WEBSITE of MIA RT

On February 14, 2019, the official website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan reported about the press conference held on the results of 2019, where the statistical information was announced. In particular, it is stated that in 2019 the law enforcement agencies registered 21,946 (2018-21957) crimes in the country. The crime detection rate was 83.5% (2018-82.3%). Of these, 11,309, or 62 % of crimes were solved by internal affairs bodies, and the detection rate was 90% (2018-90.0%).

In 2019, 90 cases of homicide, 126 cases of serious injury to health, 46 cases of rape, 28 cases of assault, 5 cases of human trafficking, 140 cases of robbery, 1,139 cases of hooliganism, 2,294 cases of fraud, 5,328 of theft, 32 cases of extortion and other offenses were reported.

There is also other information related to statistics on crime detection, seizure of weapons and drugs, number of drug addicts, search for criminals, traffic accidents and fires. But there are no data on the facts of torture and ill-treatment.

But for the sake of justice, it should be noted that this site publishes information about certain individuals who have reported the use of torture and ill-treatment by police officers.

For instance, on March 25, 2019 information was published about the initiation of a criminal case against Alijon Ashurov, who claimed the use of torture and ill-treatment, but during the prosecutor's inspection, these facts were not confirmed.

On January 11, 2020, the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs posted a report on the detention of Parviz Nabiyev with drug consignment. The report states that Parviz Nabiyev's mother posted some information on social networks regarding the use of torture against her son by police officers during detention. The MIA RT has officially denied this information.

Website of the General Prosecutor’s Office

No data has been published for 2019 on appeals and complaints to the prosecutorial authorities and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The website of the General Prosecutor’s Office does not publish official statistics, except for occasional publications on measures taken to prevent torture and ill-treatment or on campaigns related to this issue.

For example, on April 18, 2019, the website of the General Prosecutor’s Office reported on its cooperation with the United Nations Central Asian Regional Office for Human Rights and training attended by 14 prosecutorial staff.

On July 30, 2019, the website of the General Prosecutor’s Office published information about a round table held on the results of a sociological study on criminal justice monitoring in Tajikistan.

On September 25, 2019, the same website reported on the participation of the General Prosecutor in the 24th Annual Conference and the General Assembly of the International Association of Prosecutors in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

The last piece of information on this subject was posted on October 16, 2019, concerning a meeting of the Coordinating Council of Law Enforcement Agencies in the General Prosecutor's Office of Tajikistan.

By the way, there is no data on torture or ill-treatment on the official websites of Tajik public authorities for 2020.

In the meantime

On January 24, 2019 the Government of Tajikistan adopted the National Action Plan for the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Committee Against Torture for 2019-2022. The National Plan consists of 22 points: investigation of cases of torture, punishment for torture, strengthening the activity of the Ombudsman for Human Rights in Tajikistan, basic legal guarantees, access to an independent lawyer, inspection of detention facilities, detention conditions, an independent mechanism to receive and consider complaints about torture, compensation and rehabilitation, etc. The National Plan provides for some 80 measures aimed at improving the legislation and the law enforcement practice on the prevention of torture. A wide range of public authorities, courts, law enforcement agencies and the institute of Ombudsman are involved in the implementation of the National Plan.

 

PO "Independent Center for Human Rights Protection"

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