Relatives and defense lawyers of Burhoniddin Safaraliyev say officers of the Interior Ministry’s office in Hisor City have used torture to coerce his confession.

Burhoniddin Safaraliyev’s brother, Badriddin Safaraliyev, told the Independent Center for Human Rights Protection that his brother, who is chairman of the mahalla (village community) of the village of Sayod, is accused of inciting ethnic, racial, regional or religious enmity (Article 189 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code).

He was reportedly detained on January 31 this year following an application by a group of residents of the Sayod village.

According to Badriddin Safaraliyev, the problem has arisen over renaming the local mosque named after local Ahmadqul Bobo, who was ethnic Uzbek.

“It was not my brother’s initiative,” said Badriddin Safaraliyev.  “He has just implemented an instruction of the Hisor local government.”

Badriddin Safaraliyev says Hisor police officers have used torture to coerce his brother’s confession.        

Burhoniddin Safaraliyev’s defense lawyer, Ms. Jamila Sangkanova says ambulance was coming twice to her client to the Hisor police-run detention facility.

“My client says the investigator tortured him,” Sangkanova said.  

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor-General’s Office has launched an investigation into Safaraliyev’s case following applications by his relatives and defense lawyers.  

Recall, having purged Tajikistan of most Russian and Soviet labels, the Tajik authorities have begun targeting places with names of Turkic origin.