Human rights and press freedom advocates are on high alert in Tajikistan following a spate of police beatings, puzzling arrests and deaths in custody – including one in which police say a detainee killed himself by beating his head against a wall. Activists are praising the private local press for keeping attention on the abuses, but they fear the arrest of a BBC journalist may herald another crackdown on the media.
At least four recent cases underscore concerns of systematic police brutality. Early this month, Ismoil Bachajonov, 16, died in Dushanbe police custody. It is unclear why and when the boy was detained, and even when he died, but the Prosecutor General’s Office announced on June 8 that it was launching an investigation into his “beating with a lethal outcome.”
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