Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda has been stripped of license for law practice for life after he said that anticorruption officers used torture and ill-treatment against him to extract confessions.     .

Chairman of Tajik Barristers’ Union, Saidbek Nouriddinov, who has been defending Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda, says under the ruling handed down by a court in Dushanbe’s Sino district Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda is fined 20,075 somoni and stripped of license of law practice for life.   

According to him, they have filed a cassation appeal in the Dushanbe city court.  “Even if the city court upholds the Sino court's verdict, Abdurahmonzoda is exempted from paying the fine because he is covered by amnesty.  But if we fail to prove his innocence, he will be stripped of lawyer’s license for life,” Nouriddinov said.   

“Under amendments made to the country’s law on advocacy in November 2015 a person who has been convicted of a crime” cannot sit the qualification examination,” said Nourridinov.  “This is a discrimination measure and it does not comply with international laws.  We have written a proper complaint to the UN Committee, but without any results to date,” he noted.

In early August this year, Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda has applied for legal aid to an organization, which is an affiliate of the NGO Coalition against Torture in Tajikistan, noting that torture and ill-treatment were used against him.    

According to him, officers of the Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption severely beat while detaining him on suspicion of receiving US$500 for subsequent transfer to Shahzod Nouralizoda, an employee of a court in Varzob district, and made write confession.   

In early October, the Prosecutor-General’s Office refused to institute criminal proceedings over use of torture against Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda.   

Experts note that amendments made to the country’s law on advocacy pulled the legal profession increasingly under state control.

A March 2015 law established a single national bar association and provided for its independence.  But then in November the same year amendments were made to the law which reportedly brought control over the licensing of lawyers firmly back into the hands of the executive branch of government.  The commission which administers professional exams and awards licenses, the Qualifying Commission, was brought under the Ministry of Justice and its president mandated to be a deputy justice minister. In addition, lawyers were required to be recertified.

By May 2017, only around half of the previously licensed lawyers had successfully requalified under the new system and Tajikistan now has around 600 lawyers.