Parents of Hamza Ikromzoda demand through investigation into their son’s death

Parents of Hamza Ikromzoda demand through investigation into their son’s death

Parents of a Tajik prison inmate who died in mid-September are questioning the official autopsy results and demand through investigation into the death of their son.

Hamza Ikromzoda's family members lodged an appropriate application to the Prosecutor-General’s Office on January 3.

They, in particular, demand that witnesses be questioned once again and an independent forensic medical examination be carried out.

We will recall that Hamza Ikromzoda, 27, died in Dushanbe’s penal colony # 1 on September 20.

His relatives claim that he was tortured. They say his body carried traces of torture, including burns caused by a heated iron.

Tajik authorities deny these allegations. They maintain that Ikromzoda committed suicide by hanging and that the marks on his body were caused by desperate attempts to revive him after he had been found.

Lawyers for the family say they were told by the prosecutor-general's office on October 23 that the autopsy proved that Ikromzoda had hanged himself.  The lawyers say they were asked to sign papers prohibiting them from making the autopsy results public.

Ikromzoda's former cellmate, Saidali Qazoqov, told a press conference in Dushanbe on October 8 that abuse by prison authorities was a widespread practice.  He said that the only way inmates could avoid mistreatment was to get their relatives to pay bribes of $200- $500 to prison officials.

In early October last year, Tajik human rights organizations urged the government to thoroughly investigate Ikromzoda's death, listing six other suspicious deaths in custody.

The Department for Overseeing Implementation of Laws by Correctional Institutions at the Prosecutor-General’s Office has instituted criminal proceedings over Ikromzoda’s death under the provisions of Article 322 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code – negligence; an investigation is under way.