A court in Dushanbe has sentenced a senior Dushanbe police officer and three other officers to time in prison after they were found guilty of torturing a man who was being held for drug charges, according to Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service.

The Dushanbe city court on December 16 sentenced Farhod Noukhonov, the deputy chief of the Dushanbe City Police's criminal department, to 17 years in prison.  Three other subordinates received between 7 and 9 years in prison.

All four were found guilty earlier of torturing a man who was being held on allegations of illegal drug possession.  They also faced charges of abuse of power.

The four had denied the charges.  Vahhobov pleaded guilty to accepting bribes.

Tajik authorities launched an investigation after the alleged victim in the case, Hamza Solehov, gave an interview to RFE/RL's Tajik Service, in which he said he was tortured while held in custody in January on suspicion of involvement in the case.

After the report, another 17 people came forward to say they had also been tortured by police as well.

Tajikistan has been criticized by human rights groups for allowing police agencies to torture detainees, in many cases to extract confessions from them.