government: presidential republic
state of civil and political rights: Not free
constitution: 6 November 1994
legal system: based on civil law system; no judicial review of legislative acts
legislative system: bicameral Supreme Assembly (Majlisi Oli) consists of the National Assembly and the Assembly of Representatives
judicial system: Supreme Court whose judges are appointed by the president
religion: Sunni Muslim 85%, Shi'a Muslim 5%, other 10%
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
The death penalty was retained for five crimes: murder with aggravating circumstances, rape with aggravating circumstances, terrorism, biocide, and genocide. On 30 November 2004, the lower chamber of Parliament adopted amendments to the Criminal Code that provide for life imprisonment for these five crimes. These amendments were endorsed by the upper chamber of Parliament on 11 February 2005 and signed by the president on 1 March 2005. The amendments introduce life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty for men between 18 and 63 years of age. On April 30, 2004 President Rakhmonov announced in parliament his intention to introduce legislation to halt executions and on May 7, 2004 he submitted a moratorium bill for the consideration of the lower house of parliament. The Majlisi Namoyandagon, on June 2, 2004, unanimously voted for its approval and on July 8, 2004 the Majlisi Oli, the upper house of the bicameral Supreme Assembly, endorsed the bill. The newly-approved law, signed into force by the President on July 15, had stayed all death sentences handed down after April 30 and replaced the death penalty with a 25-year prison term.
Already in June 2003, Tajikistan had taken steps to restrict the death penalty. The Tajik parliament voted to exempt women and minors from execution and to reduce the number of capital crimes from 15 to five: premeditated murder of two or more people, rape, terrorist acts, genocide, and crimes involving chemical, nuclear or biological weapons. The amendments became law in August 2003. Up to 1998, the penal code had included 44 statutes punishing people with execution.
In line with Soviet tradition, the death penalty was considered a state secret in Tajikistan, making it impossible to determine the extent of the problem in a country where secret executions were known to have taken place following unfair trials in which defendants denounced being subjected to torture. Authorities divulged so little information, that families were often unaware whether their loved ones were still alive or dead.
According to statistics released by the Supreme Court, Tajikistan put 25 people to death in 2002. Throughout 2003 at least 34 people were condemned to death. Two executions were reported in the media, but the number was certainly higher.
In 2004, Rachabmurod Chumayev, Umed Idiyev, Akbar Radzshabov and Mukharam Fatkhulloyev were reportedly executed shortly before the President’s speech in April. The executions of the first two men were reportedly carried out despite requests from the UN Human Rights Committee – that had intervened on the basis of complaints submitted under the first Optional Protocol to the ICCPR – to stay the executions while it considered their cases.
On 6 May 2016, Tajikistan was reviewed under the UPR of the UN Human Rights Council. In its National Report, the Government said measures are being taken with a view to the abolition of the death penalty. An interdepartmental working group is considering various options and proce-dures with respect to abolition, as well as conducting appropriate public information and educa-tion campaigns. Conferences have been organized and held on a regular basis, along with more than 60 awareness-raising meetings for members of the public in the Republic’s towns and dis-tricts. In addition, the working group has analysed the crime situation before and after the intro-duction of the moratorium on the death penalty. At present, two options for the abolition of the death penalty are being considered: complete abolition by means of a constitutional amendment, and abolition without such an amendment, retaining the possibility of applying capital punishment in time of war.
On December 17, 2018, Tajikistan voted again in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.