The Khatlon regional court sentenced three officers of the Kulob police department – Shamshod Sharifzoda, Zafar Kholov and Jamshed Karomatov – to 14 years in prison each at the end of July.  The sentenced followed their conviction on the charges of torture and involvement in the death of resident of the city of Kulob Abduqahhor Roziqov.  

One of defense lawyers of the convicted police officers told Asia-Plus that all three ex-policemen intend to appeal the verdict.  

“We consider the verdict of the court biased and illegal.  Numerous violations of the law were committed during the preliminary investigation and during the trial.  In this regard, we consider the verdict of the court unlawful and will appeal to the Supreme Court,” the defense lawyer said.  

He also noted that the court had not taken into account the arguments of the defense and the results of the examination, according to which the narcotic substance - amphetamine – had been found in the victim's blood.   

Recall, a 37-year-old Abduqahhor Roziqov was detained in the city of Kulob Ozodi on the night of January 2 to January 3 on suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking.

Abduqahhor Roziqov

Roziqov had previously been sentenced to 12 years in prison on drug charges but was subsequently released in an amnesty.  As a condition of his release, he had to register weekly with the Interior Ministry’s office in Kulob.

Two hours after Roziqov was taken away by police officers Shamshod Sharifzoda, Zafar Kholov and Jamshed Karomatov, his relatives received a call instructing them to retrieve his body from the morgue.

The Interior Ministry released a statement on January 3 to claim that Roziqov had succumbed to an amphetamine overdose.  The man died as he was being transported from his home to a police precinct, it said.

Meanwhile, Abduqahhor’s relatives say he died as a result of torture by the police officers who carried out the arrest.

Relatives have demanded an independent medical examination to ascertain cause of death.  Media reports say a group of around 10 of Roziqov’s relatives gathering outside the Kulob morgue to demand that those responsible be punished.

The source within the Kulob prosecutor’s office said at the time that investigators had not yet been able to establish that he died from torture by police officers.

According to Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda received Roziqov’s mother and other close relatives.