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Tajikistan - Universal Periodic Review - Death Penalty - March 2021

Date: March 25, 2021
Country: Tajikistan
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Death Penalty, Detention, Due Process and Fair Trial, International Advocacy, Legal Representation, Torture
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
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The Advocates for Human Rights, together with The World Coalition Against the Death Penaltysubmitted a stakeholder report relating to the death penalty in Tajikistan for the 39th session of the working group on the Universal Periodic Review. 

Despite accepting several recommendations regarding the death penalty, torture and ill-treatment, detention conditions, and the protection of legal rights during its last Universal Periodic Review in 2016, Tajikistan has taken no meaningful steps toward implementationIt has not ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights nor the Optional Protocol to the Convention against TortureTajikistan has taken no action towards de jure abolition of the death penalty. It does not limit the death penalty to the most serious crimes, and those eligible include crimes in which the person did not kill or intend to kill. Torture is reportedly used to obtain confessions and people in detention are routinely subjected to torture and inhuman treatment in prison. Conditions in prison have also been reported as abysmal and life-threatening, with extreme overcrowding and unsanitary facilities. Corruption and inefficiency are reported to be a major issue in the criminal legal system, with concerns that the judiciary is not fully independent and that corruption is weakening investigations into allegations of torture. 

The authors of the report suggest the following recommendationfor Tajikistan: 

  • Establish and publish a clear timeline with concrete steps to accomplish abolition of the death penalty and accession to, or ratification of, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by 2026. 

  • Ensure that at all stages of judicial proceedings, each person accused of a death-eligible crime is represented by competent counsel with experience in similar cases, and ensure equality of arms between prosecution and defense in these proceedings. 

  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. 

  • Conduct credible, independent, and impartial investigations into all allegations of torture, prioritizing allegations raised by persons who are charged with crimes that are eligible for the death. 

  • Improve detention conditions to ensure compliance with the Nelson Mandela Rules, particularly with respect to food, health care, sanitation, torture and ill-treatment, and overcrowding. 

  • Enact legislation ensuring the independence of the judiciary from both executive and legislative branches, and ensuring higher pay to judges as a means of counteracting corruption.