The Military Board of the Supreme Court of Tajikistan has begun to consider criminal proceedings instituted against five soldiers and an officer, who are charged with bullying and hazing, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, reported on May 24.

Five soldiers – Jonibek Qosimzoda, Fakhriddin Azimov, Azam Kamolov, Mahmadnazar Nozimov and Hojiakbar Saifulloyev – and Lieutenant-Colonel Nuzhat Lazuriyev are standing trial for beating conscripts.      

According to Radio Ozodi, the soldiers are charged with “violation of the statutory rules of relations between military personnel in the absence of a relationship of subordination between them” (Article 373 (2) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code).  If convicted, they could face five to ten years in prison.

As far as the chief of the border commandant's office “Vorukh” of military unit 0215 deployed in Sughd’s Isfara district, Lieutenant-Colonel Nuzhat Lazuriyev, is concerned, criminal proceedings have been instituted against him under the provisions of article 391 (3) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code – abuse of power or office, excess of official or service authority or inaction of power, causing grave consequences.  If convicted, Lazuriyev could face eight to twelve years in prison.

Recall, five soldiers of military unit 0215 were detained on April 24.  The announcement came hours after a video showing a group of soldiers beating and humiliating a group of recruits appeared on the Internet and caused a public outcry just as conscription to mandatory two-year service in Tajikistan started.

The Prosecutor-General's Office said on April 24 that five soldiers were detained and they face a charge of violating military regulations on relations between personnel.    

Bullying and hazing -- sometimes with lethal consequences -- have been a serious problem in Tajikistan.  

In a national report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, the Government of Tajikistan reportedly noted that more than 100 soldiers died during the from 2019 to 2021 mainly due to hazing in the army.