Civil Society Coalition against Torture and impunity in Tajikistan
Case History №13: Firdavs Rakhmatov
It was a hot morning of June. Dilorom, accompanied by her little daughter, went to the market to buy groceries for a dinner she hosted that day. They had relatives to come on and she tried to make sure that she is not missing anything from the grocery list she made in a rush. After all, hosts in the East are very generous. On the way home, she bought some medicines for the middle son, a serviceman, who was on leave for 10 days, due to the health conditions.
- My elder one, Firdavs, has not called me yet, - she thought.
The 22-years-old Firdavs Rakhmatov, a student of the 4th course of the Correspondent Department of Khujand State University, almost an expert on telecommunications, was forcibly drafted to the army a month before, on May 7, 2015. His parents tried to request a delay for his conscription, since they already had one son the army, but were refused. They merely mentioned a word about the unlawful actions of the military commissariat officers, out of fear. Thus he was sent for the military service. Since Firdavs had a very good command of the Russian language, and had a good knowledge in IT, he easily managed to get the position of clerk at the headquarters of the Military Unit #04080 of the Defense Ministry in Kanibadam. Such a rapid promotion of a young conscript made the older servicemen to envy.
Soon, in June, the old-timers got a chance to take over when the troops were taken to Isfara for trainings. It was Sunday. Despite the existing rules and in violation of the Charter, the Duty Officers deliberately left their position and old-timers decided to line the solders. They managed to gather 23 new recruits after the lunch and took them 100 meters away, out the cameras site. While one of the old servicemen was hedging, the others forced the young men to line up and started to heat them one by one - in the stomach, and across the throat with legs and a rifle butt. Among the newcomers there was a man of strong physique, a true athlete, who also fainted after the heat. However this did not stop the old-timers who splashed his face with water, pat on the cheek, and once he got conscious put him back to the line.
At the end they decided to punish four new recruits who had “rebukes” in a special way. Firdavs was one of them. At the result of the beating he fell and wheezing whispered that he can’t breathe and is going to die, while was only told: "Do not full us, dude". They kept beating him and Firdaus fainted. One of the conscripts shouted to call a paramedic, but he was not allowed to do so. They waited for twenty minutes before they turned for medical help. The doctor only had to register the soldier's death. The old servicemen strictly forbid the recruits to reveal the truth and quickly "concocted" a legend - Firdavs allegedly fell and died of a stroke.
Commanders decided to hand over the soldier’s body at night, in order not to cause resentment among the people.
... It was getting dark when Dilorom and her husband went out to see off their guests. They were in a very good mood and warmly welcomed the neighbors, sitting outside who strangely stared at Dilorom ... She felt somehow uneasy and again thought about Firdavs, who has not called her that day. But she drove away all the bad thoughts. They went home and together cleaned up from the table and began to prepare for bed. And suddenly an unexpected knock at the door, so anxious, as if those who stood on the other side of the door, came up with a bad news. "Your son, Firdaus died. Here is his body”- these words heated Dilorom. “How?? Why ?? - she could whisper and fell unconscious.
It’s been a year since this tragic day, her wounded mother's heart no longer knows peace and tranquility, and previously lovely face has a frozen print of sorrow now.
"The night they brought my son, disguised as a new uniform, since his own was covered with blood. There were representatives of Hukumat, military commissariat, neighbors, police, and ambulance. The neighbors received the information earlier that day, but did not dare to tell them about it. Everyone was shocked by what they saw. Firdavs’ head was bandaged with a black plastic bag and was covered with hat on top of it. The whole body is sewn. The military unit decided to conduct the examination without the parent’s permission. When they unbuttoned his shirt everyone gasped in horror - the whole body was in bruises, in one place, there was even the imprinted trace of military shoes”- says Dilorom, not holding back tears.
Mother refuses to believe that Firdavs is gone
The next day the commanders of the unit came to the funeral. The mother ran to them asking how they could let such thing to happen, to what they just coldly said that, this was a hot day, your son got sunstroke, fell down and died.
“The medical conclusion was stating the same. We decided that we cannot leave it like this and immediately after the funeral, my husband write an appeal to the Military Prosecutor's Office, which launched the investigation. Every second day we had visited the prosecutors, asking about the investigation progress. However, dissatisfied with its progress, we appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office. They sent a representative. The investigation took for a month. Twenty-two conscripts were questioned as victims. A criminal case was launched against three servicemen - two sergeants and one soldier. Disciplinary actions were taken against three officers of the Military Unit for the negligence, although later they were released from criminal liability. The doctor of the Military Unit, responsible for the false medical conclusion of the death cause, also got away from prosecution.
As a result, on 1 October 2015 the Court sentenced sergeants Rabboni Sulaymonov and Komron Rakhimov to 18 and 17.5 years of imprisonment and soldier Ayom Nazarov - to 17 years of imprisonment in penal the colony of a strict regime.
Later on 5 August 2016 the Dushanbe Garrison Military Court had finished the review of Firdavs Rakhmatov’s parents appeal. The court partially satisfied Rakhmatovs claim and obliged the Ministry of Defense of Tajikistan to pay 5000 Tajik Somoni, ($ 700 USD) for non-pecuniary damages to the parents of the deceased soldiers. The lawyers filed an appeal against the court decision.
Materials was prepared in the frame of the project on “Actions against torture in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan”, with financial assistance of the European Union The contents of this materials are the sole responsibility of the organizations issuing it and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.