DUSHANBE -- A man suspected of theft has died after officials say he "jumped" out of a police building in Tajikistan.
The Interior Ministry said on April 10 that the incident took place in the city of Vahdat, about 19 kilometers from the capital, Dushanbe.
According to the ministry, 31-year-old Mehriddin Gadozoda "jumped out of the window on the third floor with the intention of avoiding criminal charges" and died hours later in the hospital.
The ministry said that Gadozoda was detained and had been brought to police after investigators found him in possession of items that had been reported stolen in 12 robbery cases.
Gadozoda's relatives have yet to comment, and it was not immediately possible to verify the police account through independent sources.
The case is one of several in Tajikistan where suspects have died while in police custody. In most of the cases, the relatives of the deceased have alleged foul play, saying their loved ones were beaten or tortured to death.
Domestic and international human rights groups have criticized Tajik authorities for beating and torturing suspects and prison inmates for years.
Tajik authorities have acknowledged that brutality involving police or prison guards occurs, but insist that such cases are not common.
In March 2018, authorities in the southern city of Kulob said a suspect, Abdurasul Nazarov, died of a heart attack while in police custody, while his relatives said his body showed signs of beating and torture.
In 2015, Shamsiddin Zaidulloev, detained on suspicion of illegal drugs-related crime in Dushanbe, died while in custody. Officials said at the time that the death was caused by a heart attack. That explanation was rejected by the man's relatives, who insisted that Zaidulloev died after he was severely beaten by police.
Also in 2015, police in Vahdat said that Umar Bobojonov died in police custody after he fell inside a concrete well while drunk. Bobojonov's relatives said at the time that he had been beaten to death by police after he was detained for wearing a beard amid a government crackdown on radical Muslims.
In 2011, the Interior Ministry said that another theft suspect, Bahromiddin Shodiev, died in the hospital after he jumped out of a window on the second floor of a police station in Dushanbe. The man's relatives have insisted that he was severely beaten and tortured by police.
In March 2011, 37-year-old Dushanbe resident Safarali Sangov died several days after he was beaten and taken from his house by plainclothes officers. Police said then that Sangov, suspected of drug possession, tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a first-floor window during his interrogation, while the man's relatives said he was tortured by police.