How much does a judge’s chair cost? What part of the bribes does the President’s family take? And why are law enforcement agencies fabricating thousands of criminal cases? A former judge from Tajikistan said this in interview with ACCA.
Last week, the President of Tajikistan, during the meeting with members of the judiciary, severely criticized their activities, accusing them of incompetence in fight against corruption. In particular, the President said that “over the nine months of this year, the courts released 635 defendants in custody with a sentence not related to arrest, and not all of these penalties are justified.”
According to Emomali Rahmon, “the commission of corrupt crimes by members of the judiciary is one such shameful act. Corruption actions not only reduce the authority and prestige of the judiciary, but also undermine people’s confidence in the state”.
As it turned out, over 9 months of 2019, 190 complaints were submitted to the Supreme Court, 44 complaints about the actions of judges to the Executive Office of the President, including 58 complaints of delays in the consideration of cases, 7 complaints of non-enforcement of judgments and 125 complaints of judicial inaction. “During the audit, part of these complaints was confirmed,” the President said.
Also Emomali Rahmon criticized the work of the preliminary investigation bodies. “In some cases, the rights and freedoms of citizens are violated, and they are unreasonably prosecuted, as a result of which the charges against the court do not find evidence, and acquittals are issued by the courts,” he emphasized. “I have repeatedly emphasized that the task of law enforcement agencies is not only to put people under arrest, their function is also to prevent crimes, that is, to protect people from prison. Behind every person is his family, his fate and life.”
A former judge from Tajikistan commented on the situation in the judicial system in an interview with ACCA on condition of anonymity.
– How independent is the judicial system in Tajikistan today?
– What independence can we talk about if a judge begins his work with a corruption deal? It has long been known to all that candidate judges buy these posts for a lot of money. Often these are people who are absolutely not ready for this responsible work. To return the amount paid, and then earn money, judges from the first day begin to be engaged in corruption cases. This is happening at all levels of the judiciary.
– And to whom and how much should those, who want to become judges, pay?
– The rate starts from $100 000 depending on the city and the region where the judge is appointed. This money must be paid to people who can lobby this candidate and submit to the President for approval. The President’s family takes part of this money. Therefore, it makes me laugh when the President criticizes judges for corruption. Any trader in the market, a taxi driver or old women sitting at the entrances of houses can tell you about this. Moreover, they can give an exact information about how much you need to pay the investigating authorities and judges in order to free a person from responsibility. This is practically open information, and for a long time in Tajikistan it is not a secret. People even know what rate each judge has, and they are trying to appoint the right judge.
– The facts of the detention of judges for receiving a bribe in Tajikistan are rare, but they are registered. So, there’s still some kind of fight against corruption, isn’t it?
– This is not a fight against corruption, but rather the protection of corruption interests. The fact is that the investigating authorities are also totally mired in corruption, and often they take bribes and promise freedom to those under investigation. However, they do not want to share this money with the judges. The judges immediately suspect that the investigator took the bribe and shared them with the prosecutor, who represents the state prosecution in court. Therefore, a judge who was not included in the “share” may make a completely different decision, which contradicts the interests of the investigating authorities. Thus, a war begins between the judges and the investigating authorities. It is after such cases that the judges are then detained with a bribe.
– And if the judge takes a bribe and makes a decision at his discretion?
– In this case, the Prosecutor’s office protests against the decision of the judge and the case is considered again by another judge. The fight is for money, and they don’t care about laws and justice at all. The rich people, having committed serious crimes, go free, while the poor and the innocent fill prisons.
– And what’s the reason of jailing innocent people?
– Law enforcement agencies must show the fight against crime, and most importantly, so that the number of crimes is not reduced dramatically. Otherwise, the staff of law enforcement agencies will also need to be reduced and prisons will be closed. And this is all a huge business that feeds people working in this system. By detaining people in fabricated criminal cases, law enforcement agencies demand a bribe. Even poor people go to great lengths to free them. They get into debt, take loans only so as not to go to jail.
– And in what state do these criminal cases reach the court?
– In this case, it’s not even worth talking about evidence. A huge number of criminal cases reach the court in a ridiculous way. The judges, as I said, are dependent on the investigating authorities, and they close their eyes to all this disgrace, and make harsh decisions. Thus, thousands of innocent people go to jail. In my practice there have been many such cases. Of the total number of crimes registered in the country, about 40% of the criminal cases initiated are fabricated by the law enforcement agencies themselves.
– You want to say that the real number of crimes in Tajikistan is 40% lower than the official?
– Yes! In 40% of cases, the organizers of the crimes are the law enforcement agencies themselves. Usually, they simply substitute people through their agents, knock out false testimonies, confessions by means of brutal torture. Previously, these fabricated criminal cases were mainly related to crimes such as drug trafficking and extremism. However, in recent years, theft and hooliganism and other crimes have already begun to be organized. Everyone wants to earn money and at the same time showing good crime detection, to climb the career ladder. During the consideration of such criminal cases in court, it immediately becomes clear who organized all this, but the judges, fearing their own disclosure, support the version of the investigation.
– Recently, another amnesty was announced in Tajikistan, which affected about 20 000 prisoners. What is the likelihood that many of them will soon be back in jail?
– The probability is very high. I already read in the news that about 60 of the amnestied people have allegedly committed crimes. The problem is that a person who leaves a prison is always under the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies, and at any convenient moment they are returned to prison, again substituting through their agents, provoking or planting drugs. There are a lot of such cases. Officially before the law, these people have already compromised themselves once, and the second time it is much easier to put them in jail. If this is the same crime as the first time, then the investigator will also receive an increase for the detention of the so-called recidivist. I am sure that not even a year will pass before the prisons will be filled again, and among them there will be many innocent people. Therefore, the country announces an amnesty every 2-3 years to simply empty the crowded prisons a little. In Tajikistan, this business is the most profitable!
Source: Acca Media