Prosecutor Seeks Lengthy Prison Terms For Tajik Police Officers Charged With Torture

DUSHANBE -- A Tajik prosecutor has asked for lengthy prison terms for four police officers charged with torturing a suspect being held in an illegal-drugs-related case.

Sources close to law enforcement structures told RFE/RL on November 25 that the prosecutor asked a court in Dushanbe to sentence the officers to prison terms of between 15 years and 23 years.

There was no official announcement about the request, which was made during a hearing on November 22.

The court told RFE/RL that the defendants, the deputy chief of Dushanbe City Police's Criminal Department, Farhod Nurkhonov and his subordinates, Avaz Sabzaev, Ikromiddin Ahliddin, and Umed Vahhobov will make their closing statement at the trial on November 26.

The four are charged with torturing a suspect, abuse of power, and bribe taking. They have pleaded guilty only of bribe-taking.

Nurkhonov's lawyer, Abdukarim Abdulhamidov, told RFE/RL that the torture accusations had not been proven during the trial, which was held behind closed doors.

The probe into the case was launched after the alleged victim, Hamza Solehov, gave an interview to RFE/RL's Tajik Service in which he said he was tortured while held in custody on suspicion of involvement in a drugs case.

After the report, 17 other people in the Tajik capital came out saying they had been tortured by police as well.

Police brutality in the Central Asian nation has been raised by human rights defenders for years.