The case of a man allegedly tortured in detention in Tajikistan has highlighted the enduring difficulty of securing a fair hearing for those who report mistreatment, experts say.
Anti-torture legislation has been revised, but is not always implemented effectively, and police often resist attempts to investigate allegations of abuse, so that perpetrators are able to act with impunity.
For more than a year, the family and defence team of 33-year-old Ilhom Ismonov, from the town of Kanibadam in the northern Soghd region, have been seeking a proper investigation of allegations that he was tortured into signing a confession.
Ismonov is one of 53 defendants in an ongoing trial in the Soghd regional centre Khujand, which started in July. The case concerns a suicide bombing at the local offices of police’s organised crime unit in September 2010. Three police officers and the attacker died in the explosion.
Ismonov is accused of assisting the alleged Islamic extremists said to have commissioned the attack.
His wife Zarina Najmutdinova has been active in raising the alarm about the case from the start, and was able to engage Amnesty International’s attention.