Case History №11: Umar Bobojonov

Umar was supposed to have a bright future

The death of a young man in the custody of Vahdat police station allegedly at the result of torture was broadly discussed in public. This case received a lot of attention from both local and foreign media which called the 23-year-old Umar Bobojonov the victim of a covert campaign against wearing a beard. However, even after almost a year the perpetrators haven’t been established yet.

The 66-year-old Mahmadsaid Bobojonov, Umar’s father, greeted us in his modest apartment in the normal four floors apartment building in Vahdat. It is always very hard to interview parent, who lost a child... While this time the situation is event more difficult. A short silence was interrupted by Mahmadsaid, handing us the latest pictures of his son, made in the hospital, “Look, there is a visible shoe imprint on Umar's face. He was severely beaten in the police station for wearing a beard. They broke his left jaw, two ribs, his face was covered with burses. Even public’s enemies are not treated like this! “.

Umar Bobojonov was in labor migration in St. Petersburg, where he combined work and study at the law faculty in one of the city’s universities. He was not at home for three years, but last summer decided to visit relatives. His father said that he wasn’t wasting any minute, helping about the house and tried to meet with his classmates during free time. And on that tragic day, 29 August, he was meeting with his friends, when they were approached by several police officers.

- They started to harass him for wearing a beard and forced him into the car to take him the police station. According to Umar’s friends, Umar tried to oppose the illegal actions of the police. Since he was studying law, he was very well aware of his rights. Such a behavior apparently irritated the police officers.

Even today, it is very painful for Akai Mahmadsaid to remember that fatal day for his son. On 29 Umar he was taken to the intensive care unit of a local hospital, relatives were hoping for his recovery. However, the injuries were so severe that on 4 September he died without regaining consciousness. It is very hard for the family to accept that until today nobody was brought to justice yet.

- The case was railroaded very quickly and the official version state that my son was allegedly drunk, was brawling in the city, and that during the detention he fell and hit his head on the curb, which subsequently led to his death. But that is not true!

According to him, everyone in the neighborhood knew that Umar never drink, never break the peace around and never had problems with the law.

- I do not believe the examination that identified alcohol in my son’s blood. It is easy to obtain a fake expertise these days. In this case why the forensic examination did not identified that his left jaw and his ribs were broken? If somebody else had committed such crime, he would have been immediately detained and sentenced to a lengthy term.

The case was taken up by the lawyers of the Civil Society Coalition against Torture. According to one of the lawyers, Khudoydod Yermatov, mentioned that on 1 September 2015 the Prosecutor's office of Vahdat launched a criminal case under Article 110 Part 1 (unintentionally inflicting serious bodily harm) of the Criminal Code and initiated a preliminary investigation.

“That means the criminal case was opened on the third day after the incident. Investigation started immediately after the criminal case was launched and at the moment I represent Bobojonov” - says Yormatov.

According to the forensic examination’s conclusion, Umar Bobojonov’s death was caused by brain injury.

Later, on September 5 the charge was changed to “inflicting serious bodily harm resulting in death” (Article 110, part 3 of the Criminal Code).

At the moment, the testimonies of Umar’s friend (S.Z.) present very big importance for the investigation as well as other witnesses.

“The initial medical examination of S.Z. did not identify the fractures ribs. However, he had been complaining over pains in the hip and was not able to sit in one position for a long time; it was evident even during interrogations. Later it was decided to conduct a new examination which found two closed fractured ribs. The forensic examination rated the injures as moderate. Unfortunately, S.Z was not recognized as a victim by the investigation. The lawyer filed a complaint to the Prosecutor General's Office and waiting for positive results”.

According to Khudoydod Yormatov after almost a year since the investigation hasn’t identified the perpetrators.

“In spring the investigation tried to identify individuals involved in Bobojonov’s beating. At the moment, the witnesses identified three employees of Vahdat police station. One of them, the officer of the Department to combat drug trafficking, in interview with local media outlet mentioned that during the detention Umar allegedly dropped his body back and hit on the concrete curb; however this version refute the injuries, which were fixed on the front part of the head and body . Investigative actions are continuing”,- he said.

With regard to the investigation, on some point it carried not very efficient. “We managed to get acquainted with the case only after filing a complaint to the Prosecutor General's Office," - said Yormatov.

Lawyers appealed to the President and the Commissioner for Human Rights and are hoping that they will be able to affect the course of the investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

As a result, the investigation lasted for more than six months and was suspended due to the failure to identify a person which is to be held accountable, while Umar was not recognized as a victim in the criminal case.

Memories with tears


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.