Shahbol Mirzoev voluntarily answered the call in Tajikistan, appearing for his military service last fall shortly after graduating university. By spring, the 22-year-old was paralyzed from the neck down, a victim of a brutal tradition in the Tajik military that officials seem unable to stop or even admit – hazing.
In mid-June, 28-year-old medic Usmon Gairatov, received a nine-year sentence for the violent March 6 attack and for denying Mirzoev medical treatment, Asia-Plus reported. The widely reported incident has raised awareness of the deadly practice of “dedovshchina” – ritual hazing by older conscripts – in Tajikistan’s armed forces, and prompted others to come forward with stories and disturbing videos. Although authorities have prosecuted some serious cases, activists say the culture of violence and denial in Tajikistan’s military is not changing.
To read the full story
Tamiris Esfandiar is the pseudonym for a Dushanbe-based journalist.