Uzbekistan: Police Academy Graduate Dies in Detention
A police academy graduate died in jail under mysterious circumstances, Radio Ozodlik, the Uzbek Service of Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe reported, citing human rights activists.
Almardon Ruzikulov, 28, was detained on suspicion of stealing a cow. His relatives say that he died from torture while interrogators were trying to extract a confession from him. Interior Ministry officials maintain, however, that Ruzikulov hanged himself in his jail cell.
The human rights group Ezgulik (“Goodness”) reported that Ruzikulov, a resident of the village of Korakiya in the Chirakchin district of Kashkadarya region, died on November 20. He was a graduate of the Interior Ministry Academy of Uzbekistan.
According to Ezgulik, when police received a statement about the theft of the cow, they made a number of detentions and interrogations. Ruzikulov was among them, and was eventually charged with theft. His 82-year-old father continues to go the Interior Ministry, seeking information about his son’s death.
Anvar Holyorov, a district detective who investigated Ruzikulov’s case, told Radio Ozodlik that he committed suicide. He further noted that torture was prohibited and “contradicted his professional and human duty.” He added that if there were no wounds on the body, and no evidence of torture, then the accusation shouldn’t be made. He said officers found the body of Ruzikulov hanging in his cell, and that officers on duty would be accountable. “An investigator doesn’t have responsibility for this,” said Holyorov.
Holyorov declined to answer questions about how a prisoner who was under guard could have managed to hang himself. A prosecutor is investigating the death. Another police official told Radio Ozodlik that it would not be possible for Ruzikulov to hang himself in the cell. He said Ruzikulov had hanged himself in the hallway outside the cell, although he did not explain how that was possible.
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