07/11/2019, 09.36
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Tajikistan, 14 detainees die from "food poisoning". Families: They were tortured

The prisoners would have died during the transfer to the prison police cell phones.  Relatives of the victims report signs of burns, broken bones, unrecognizable faces.  The country is at the bottom of the world rankings due to respect for freedoms and rights.


Dushanbe (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 14 detainees have died in recent days in Tajikistan as they were transferred from one penitentiary to another.  According to the prison authorities, the prisoners died food poisoning after ingesting moldy bread.  In reality, the families of the victims who were able to pay their last respects to the relative report evident signs of torture.  Their bodies would indeed be plagued by burns, fractures and other violence.

The official version of the prison administration claims that the poisoning would have taken place in the cell of the penitentiary police.  In recent days, 128 convicts were transported from the prisons of the northern province of Sughd to those in the capital Dushanbe and in the southern part of the country.  According to the agents, the detainees died after consuming the spoiled food, while three others survived.

The families' suspicions were arousedby the requestto bury the dead immediately.  At the funeral of Valijon Odinaev, 42, convicted of extremism-related charges, plainclothes policemen handed over the body of the deceased, ordering them to celebrate the funeral "without delay".  A relative of the victim, on condition of anonymity, declares that the corpse of the man had burns all over his body and a deep wound in the neck, "as if he had been hit with a hammer".

Saodat Solehova, sister of another 34-year-old victim, Nekqadam Solehov, denounces that "his nose was broken and his face unrecognizable".  The father of 22-year-old Abdurahmon Abdurahmonov, who also allegedly was suffering from severe food poisoning, was granted  only five minutes to say goodbye to his son.  Then the authorities told him to proceed immediately with the funeral.

Tajikistan is one of the most authoritarian countries in the world, where freedom of the press, association is denied;  the democratic mechanisms are almost non-existent;  family members of activists and political prisoners are forced to seek asylum abroad for threats to their lives.

According to Freedom House, the most important observatory on the subject of democratic freedoms that every year draws up a report on the state of freedom in the world, in the country the level of democracy is 6.79 on a scale of 1 to 7, where 7 indicates the lowest  level of democratic progress.  In the world press freedom ranking by Reporters sans Frontiers, Tajikistan ranks 161th out of a total of 180.

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