Case History №7: Ismonboy Boboev

19 February 2010.  Undeterred by the cold weather, a crowd of men began to gather in Isfara’s main mosquefor Friday prayers. Among those hurrying to the mosque was 30-year old Ismonboy Boboev, who had returned from Russia a week earlier to visit his parents. He was deeply religious and always made sure he prayed five times a day, whether in Moscow, where fate had taken him, or in his hometown of Isfara.

However, two officers of the Regional Department For the Fight against Organized Crime of the Tajikistan Ministry of Internal Affairs, the so-called 6th department, blocked his way and took him away, saying he was suspected of belonging to the banned religious extremist party Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Ismonboy hoped that, once at the police station, he would be able to prove that he did not belong to the banned movement and that he would manage to join his friends who were expecting him in a tearoom after the prayers. They were going to prepare genuine Sughd plov in honour of Ismonboy’s arrival and have a good chat.

However, an hour and then two went buy and Imonboy wasn’t coming. His friends, by now seriously worried, rang his mobile phone. There was no reply. Only after the tenth ring someone who said his name was Firdavs picked up the phone and said Ismonboy was being taken to the 6th department in Khujand, and switched off the phone. The friends rushed to the house of Imonboy’s parents.  The aromatic plov stayed on the tablecloth in the tearoom, untouched…

Ismonboy's father explains that a mere mention of the 6th department was enough to fill the locals with horror. „Locals never stopped telling stories about officials picking out young men who had just come back after working away from home, beating them up and demanding a specific amount of ransom, 2,000 to 7,000 dollars. It was a reliable scheme: nobody wanted to end up in prison on charge belonging to an extremist organisation or to be subjected to horrific torture, so people handed over the money they had worked so hard to earn,“  he says.

When Juraboy-ako learned the ominous news from his son’s friends he rushed to the house of the father of Firdavs Shokirov, the RDFOC officer who had answered Ismonboy’s mobile phone. He promised to call Firdavs and help them sort things out. When this was agreed, Juraboy went back home but couldn’t settle. Through people he knew he managed to find out the phone number of the regional RDFOC commander. He rang him and agreed to meet him the next morning for a talk. Just in case Juraboy-ako got 7.5 thousand dollars ready.

When he arrived at the 6th department building the next morning he saw a crowd of people. Heads of the regional law enforcement agencies were also there. Someone said Ismonboy had died...

Back at home, when the body was being washed, he noticed electric shock burns on the fingers and huge bruises on the legs...

The first forensic examination, carried out 20 days after the funeral, showed that Bobev died of mechanical asphyxiation caused by a retracted tongue. The results of a second forensic examination, carried out on the father’s behest in late April 2010, came closer to the truth: the man had died from an injury by electric current. In other words, Ismonboy had really been tortured by electric shocks and it was the electric shocks that had caused his tongue to retract.

On 25 March 2010 the Sughd Regional Prosecutor opened criminal investigation against RDFC officers Manuchekhr Akbarov and Firdavs Shokirov under Article 104 (murder), Article 3, Para 316 (abuse of power), Article 4 Oara 247 (fraud) and Article. 2 Para 250 (extortion) of the Tajik Criminal Code.

However, on 25 June 2010 the criminal investigation was suspended due to the „illness of the suspects Akbarov and Shokirov“. In the meantime Shokirov had voluntarily resigned from the Ministry of Internal Affairs agency, while Akbarov was promoted, becoming deputy commander of the Sughd Region RDCP. He was subsequently appointed to a leading position in the Khatlon Region law enforcement agencies. Between June 2010 and August 2012 the investigation stalled.

On 20 August 2012 Prosecutor General of the Republic of Tajikistan revoked the decision of the Sughd Region Prosecutor to suspend the investigation as unlawful. This happened due to active pressure on the part of the aggrieved party’s lawyers who filed an individual complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee in July 2012. The complaint was registered and the government, as party to the UN treaty, was requested to provide a clarification with regard to this case within six months. As a result the investigation into I. Boboev’s death was reopened. 

Ismonboy’s relatives and his lawyers were encouraged by the news. However, in late November 2012 Juraboy Boboev was notified by the Sughd Region Prosecutor that the criminal investigation had been suspended due to the illness of both suspects. No explanation was offered as to what illness had „incapacitated“ Akbarov and Shokirov, even though the „sick“ Akbarov still holds a position of responsibility in Khatlon...

The wound left by his son’s death is still fresh in Juraboy Boboev’s heart and it is not likely to heal any time soon. Ismonboy was his firstborn, followed by two little sisters and two little brothers. His father recalls that Ismonboy was very mature for his age and had provided support to his parents from an early age. He always took the right decision and was blessed with an enterpreneurial instinct and grasp. „Our family has never lacked for anything but nevertheless I have brought up my children to appreciate the value of a piece of bread, to be self-sufficient and independent,“ Mr. Boboev tells me.

In 2000 Ismonboy first travelled to Moscow with his uncle to find work. He was 20 years old. At first he worked as driver’s assistant, then he found a job on a building site, and afterwards he donned an apron and started selling dried fruit. Winning over Russia’s capital wasn’t easy but fortune seemed to smile at him.

Ismonboi with a daughter

He was beginning to do better and could afford to visit his parents two to three times a year, take his family on holidays to warm climes and make big purchases. Ismonboy moved his wife and two young daughters to Moscow. Within ten years the simple boy from Isfara managed to acquire Russian citizenship for himself, his wife and children.

„You should have seen the presents he had bought for his daughters. Now I understand that they were his entire life. For example, he once gave them golden jewellery, not really suitable for little girls. Now they guard it as jealously as the memory of their father. And of course gold doesn’t succumb to time, it doesn’t spoil,“ says Juraboy Boboev.

Once Ismonboy was well established he brought his two younger brothers to Moscow as well. „I was always amazed at how smart he was, I don’t think I would have managed to do as well as he did. Many Tajiks go to Russia for work, some are much older than my son but few had been as successful as Ismonboy,“ the father continues his account.

He tells me that Ismonboy’s empathy had no bounds. He would help his fellow-countrymen who had fallen on hard times far away from home. Many of them attended the funeral sharing stories of how he had helped them, stories his parents had never heard before. As his father says, Ismonboy always followed the proverb: „Do good and throw it in the water.“

„We miss them very much, he was the most special of all my children. My soul is still in torment... And since the justice system in our country is corrupt, I hope God’s judgment will punish my son’s murderers,“ Mr. Boboev hopes.

The investigation into the criminal case was suspended for six times allegedly due to the suspects sickness, and is continued for the seventh year. In April 2015 the case was transferred from the Investigation Division of Sughd Prosecutor's Office to the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of RT with flagrant violations of jurisdiction being passed from one structure to another over the years. The jurisdiction violations were appealed to the General Prosecutor's Office of the RT. The same body also received a complaint filed by the lawyer on ineffective investigation, as well as lack of proper prosecution supervision over the investigation.

In 2012 the UN Committee against Torture in its concluding recommendations to the Government of the Tajikistan expressed its concerns about the course of the investigation into the death I.Boboev.  The UN Committee against Torture continued the correspondence with the Goverbment of Tajikistan until 2016 when it was requested by the Independent Centre for Human Rights Protection to suspend correspondence and consider this case based on the merits.


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.