Deputies of Tajikistan’s lower chamber (Majlisi Namoyandagon) of parliament (Majlisi Oli) have endorsed draft amendment proposed to the country’s penal code.  The amendments, in particular, provide for toughening punishment of torture. 

A regular sitting of the Majlisi Namoyandagon, presided over by its head, Shukurjon Zuhurov, took place on October 16. 

Presenting the draft amendments  to law makers, Minister of Justice, Rustam Shohmurod, noted that amendments are made to the Penal Code for the purpose of fulfilling recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture.  

The amendments provide for replacing fine with jail term ranging from two to five years.  

Repeated use of torture and the use of torture by a group of persons by prior agreement or against a woman, obviously for the perpetrator in a state of pregnancy, or against minors or people with disabilities with inflicting moderate severity are punishable by imprisonment ranging from five to eight years, the minister said. 

Torture committed with inflicting grievous bodily harm or causing death by negligence or any other grave consequences is punishable by imprisonment ranging from ten to fifteen years.  

Persons convicted of torture are barred from holding certain positions or engaging in certain activities during fifteen years, depending on the severity of the crime, Shohmurod noted.  

Recall, the Majlisi Namoyandagon on February 29, 2012 introduced Article 143-1 (“torture“) in the country’s Penal Code with a definition of torture that is in line with that contained in the United Nations Convention against Torture. 

Under this article, torture is punishable by a fine, suspension from duty or imprisonment of up to five years.

In November 2012, the Committee against Torture recommended Tajikistan to ”amend article 143-1 of the Criminal Code to ensure that sanctions for the offence of torture reflect its grave nature, as required by article 4 of the Convention” (Para. 6).