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Torture rampant in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, July 10 (UPI) -- Amnesty International announced a report Tuesday chronicling routine torture and abuse in detention centers throughout Tajikistan.

The full report, entitled "Shattered Lives: Torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials in Tajikistan" takes an in-depth look at the treatment of those held in police custody.

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"The torture methods used by the security forces are shocking: electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings, burning with cigarettes, rape and threats of rape," said Rachel Bugler of Amnesty International. "The only escape is to sign a confession or sometimes pay a bribe."

An Amnesty International press release details the results of such treatment: burst ear drums, broken teeth and dislocated jaws as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, nightmares and chronic insomnia.

"Far too frequently, this treatment leads to the deaths of people in police custody," Bulger said. "These cases are not being properly investigated and the alleged perpetrators are not effectively brought to justice."

The poorer population is especially vulnerable, being the least likely to lodge complaints, the report says. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are evaluated based on how many crimes they solve. As one Tajik journalist told Amnesty International: "Torture is a means of income. Police detain, torture and charge people, and then suggest that they can be bought off."

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