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Torture, ill-treatment of detainees common in Tajikistan: AI report

Torture, beatings and ill-treatment of detainees are common practice in Tajikistan [BBC backgrounder], Amnesty International [advocacy website] said in its report [text, PDF] released on Thursday. The human rights group claimed that the country lacks measures adequately protecting detainees from abuses and ill-treatment and noted that there are more incentives than deterrence for police officers to engage in such practices. Police officers are still evaluated based on cases they solve, compelling them to use torture against detainees to obtain forced confessions. Detainees are also released by paying officers bribes, reportedly resulting in more officers arresting individuals just to get paid. Additionally, victims of such inhumane practices are denied the right to remedy by thorough investigations. Another hurdle for adequate remedies is the intimidation of journalists who report on alleged torture and ill-treatment. Despite the country's efforts to abolish the controversial treatment of detainees by adopting the new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) in 2010, AI stated that there are still areas of improvements to be made. AI urged the country to amend the CPC to make it comply with international human rights law such as amending the definition of deprivation of liberty. AI also called the government to provide detainees with lawyers of their choice and to pursue against the perpetrators responsible for the torture and other ill-treatments.

Torture and ill-treatment of individuals remain problems throughout the international community. It has been an area that various international organizations and groups have addressed. In June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] urged [JURIST report] the international community to take measures to stop torture [official statement] by numerous states against their own citizens. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] echoed [press release] the call by stating that torture is illegal in any circumstance and urging states to live up to their promise to prevent and stop inhumane treatment of individuals. During the same month the new Senegalese government was urged to adopt fresh measures [JURIST report] to protect and promote human rights by addressing the impunity that undermines the judicial system and rule of law in the country. AI found that the government was using torture and other similar methods to stop protesters and civilians as well as journalists and political opponents. Syria has also been subject to criticism by the UN experts [JURIST report] and human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] for its use of torture against civilians. It was reported [JURIST report] that Syria was even sexually abusing detainees regardless of gender and age. Two years ago, Pillay pledged justice for torture victims [JURIST report], noted that democracies with a rule of law in place still maintain amnesties that prevent torturers from being brought to justice and promised that the international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] will continue to prosecute those responsible for torture.

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