Civil Society Coalition against Torture and impunity in Tajikistan
History №14: Shamsiddin Zaydulloev
The 25-year old taxi driver Shamsiddin Zaydulloev was detained in April 2015 on suspicion in drug trafficking. Few days later he died at the temporary detention of the Drug Control Agency. His relatives assured that his death was caused by beatings and torture.
According to the victim’s mother Tojiniso Karimova, her son worked as a taxi driver. On 8 April 2015, approximately at 18:00, while the young man was at work, he was approached by three unknown persons in plainclothes (later she learnt their names – Zafar, Umed and Firdavs) without introducing themselves opened the doors of his car, handcuffed him and started to beat him, what caused several of his neighbors to intervene.
One of the passer-by started to ask those people why do they beat and what they want from him, but they ignored her. Under the public pressure those three stopped beating Shamseddin and detached the handcuffs. By that time Shamsiddin’s parents arrived and together with neighbors took him home.
The same evening, 8 of April, around 20:00, Zaidulloevs’ house was visited by the officers of the Drug Control Agency, who introduced themselves this time and were accompanied by the same men who earlier that day had abused Shamsiddin in his car - Zafar, Umed and Firdavs.
The Drug Control Agency officers asked Shamsiddin out, claiming to have evidences of his involvement in the crime without specifying which exactly. According to his mother in both cases they did not present an arrest warrant and took him to the building of the Drug Control Agency.
The next day, on 9 April, Shamsiddin Zaydulloev’s mother visited him in the building of the Drug Control Agency. She recalled: “When I petted his head he said I shouldn’t touch the back of his head because it was swollen and painful. I asked him in a low voice whether he was beaten and he nodded”.
“I kept asking him “If you guilty in something, better to admit it and serve your term in the prison, than to be beaten here. He said, “Mom, I'm just a driver, I am just taking the clients wherever they ask me to. I did not do anything”. However, later we learned that a few days earlier, one of his clients had struck a deal on the drugs in his car, but for what my son lost his life?”- Continued Todjiniso Karimova.
On 10 April, when she again came to the building the DCA to visit her son, the investigator was not there. The next day on 11 April she was again refused to meet with Shamsiddin. In the evening Shamsiddin called his mother from the investigator’s telephone and informed that he needs a lawyer and that during the remand hearing he was charged with “selling small quantities of drugs”.
Parents of the alleged victim of torture along with the lawyer wanted to meet Shamsiddin on 12 April, however were not able to contact the investigator. Early on 13 April, around 06:30, when his parents arrived at the DCA office to pass food for their son, they were contacted the nephew who informed that Shamsiddin died. His parents immediately rushed to the DCA office, where the woman asked to show her son, though one of the DCA officers said that Shamsidin is alive and he is at the intensive care unit of the National Medical Center. When they arrived there they were redirected to the 15th corpus of the hospital, where the morgue was located. On their way, they were called by one of the relatives who informed that Shamsiddin’s body is at the morgue of Ministry of Interior (located at the territory of Medgorodok). Parents went there and identified the body of their son.
According to his parents his body was covered in bruises. His mother insisted on a forensic medical examination. She claimed that he never had any health issues and did not used drugs and she was and she was sure that he had died as a result of torture by the DCA officers.
Saimumin Kabirov, a lawyer, provided by the Civil Society Coalition against torture in Tajikistan, informed that the forensic examination concluded that the cause of death was pneumonia. and they provided the Coalition with several photographs as evidence. On 25 April, the General Prosecutor’s Office opened crim inal proceedings for “torture“. On 13 May, the parents and the lawyer were given access to the results of the forensic medical examination that was conducted after the autopsy. However, Shamseddin’s parents did not agree with these results and petitioned for a new forensic examination. “According to the family and his colleagues, he never complained about his health. Moreover, he did not have any symptoms of pneumonia, that could easily be observed”- said the lawyer. In addition, few hours before his death, the doctors of the emergency ambulance, where he was taken by the DCA officers, found no signs of pneumonia. Upon arriving at the DCA Zaydulloev was also examined by the Agency medical personnel who reported about the satisfactory health conditions of the detainee.
According to the lawyer, on 14 May 2015, the Prosecutor General’s Office ordered that an interdisciplinary forensic medical examination be conducted, which included the representatives of the Republican Forensic Center, health and defense ministries. “On 27 May, exhumation of Zaidulloev Shamsiddin’s corpse was held in my presence. According to the conclusion of the forensic medical examination, dated 3 August, serious injuries including four to five broken ribs and a fracture of his skull may have caused Shamsiddin Zaydulloev’s death. These injuries obviously received as a result of grieve bodily harm caused by the DCA officers, since on 8 April 2015 Zaidulloev passed the medical examination which proved his good health conditions and he did not complained about anything”- said Kabirov.
Meanwhile, the Drug control Agency has denied the involvement of its employees to the death of detained Zaidulloev. The official response of the DCA states the following: “On 12 April, around 14:00 Zaidulloev Shamseddin, who was detained by the Agency for involvement in drug business and was held in the detention center of the DCA, felt unwell and started shivering. The Duty Officers called Emergency ambulance which arrived in 20 minutes and after the examination reported that the detainee is a drug user and is in the situation of abstinence (withdrawals), and recommended to take him to drug abuse clinic.
The detainee was brought to the National Drug Treatment Clinic, where he received medical assistance. Zaidulloev spent two hours on a drip, and later was taken back the Emergency station for further examination. At the station, Zaidulloev went through full examination which excluded acute surgical diseases and was recommended to go through esophagogastroscopy, which was categorically refused by Zaidulloev and he even stated this in written. Around 23:15 he was brought back to the Agency, where he stayed in the chamber until the morning. The duty officers stayed next to the doors and had constantly been checking on his heath.
Around 5:00 am, the duty officer informed that Zaidulloev’s health got worsened and immediately called the Emergency which upon the arrival stated “death from heart failure”.
The DCA immediately informed the Firdavsi district prosecuting and interior bodies about the incident. Prosecutors together with the forensic expert examined the body and prepared a protocol which states that “no external signs of violent death were found”, thus, excluded the fact of ill-treatment by DCA staff.
In addition, the Agency office is equipped with surveillance cameras, including both floors of the temporary detention center of the Agency, that allow for constant surveillance of all events occurring in the DCA.
In the course of investigation Zaidulloev confessed that he is heroin addict starting from December 2013. His mother informed that her son received medical treatment in the Republican Drug abuse clinic for heroin addicts about one and a half years ago.
On 4 May, in response to the petition of Mamarajab Odinaev, the lawyer of the Zaidulloev’s parents, the Republican Drug abuse clinic provided a confirmation that Shamsiddin Zaidulloev was registered with drug abuse clinic from 9 April 2015. “Which means that he was registered with the clinic the very next day after his detention by the DCA and was not previously registered with drug rehabilitation institutions”, - said the lawyer.
The Prosecutor General’s Office opened criminal proceedings under Article 143-1 of the Criminal Code, entitled “torture“. However, On 23 December the Prosecutor General’s Office closed the criminal investigation for “lack of evidence of a crime“, which was appealed by his mother.
However, the petition on illegal termination of the criminal investigation into the death of her son petition was referred to other bodies and finally was submitted to Sino district court. Starting from April 2016 the lawyer had repeatedly appealed to the court to review the petition of Mrs. Karimovs, however, the court had prolonged the review due to the alleged delay from the Prosecutor General's Office to submit the case papers. On 18 October 2016 the District Court of Sino upheld the Mrs. Karimova’s petition on illegal termination of the criminal investigation into her son's death and ordered new hearing on 27 October 2016.
Parents mourning the death of thier son
“Nothing will bring my son back, but I would like to say one thing: It doesn't matter who our children are - be they thieves, robbers, or drug addicts, they will always remain beloved children for their mothers. No one has the right to beat them. The law presumes a punishment for a crime. Once he atones for the crime, he should come back to his family, his children," said Shamsiddin's mother.
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.