Relative independence of judiciary stands high among other, rather poorly rated aspects of the rule of law in Tajikistan. Besides drops of economic freedom, its judiciary seems to be another glimpse of hope for the future of overall freedom in the country. Still, in the law enforcement system there are indeed worrisome practices, such as systematic torture, mysterious deaths or disappearances, or other lack of due process. In 2013, such cases were randomly investigated, while access to prison was still denied to independent watchdog or humanitarian organizations (with one exception - of the UN special rapporteur on torture). Corruption in prisons is widespread. Torture cases included beating, punching, electric shocks, water boarding, burning with hot water, cigarettes or chemicals and
rape. The political system (“consolidated authoritarian regime” by Freedom House classification), with the same leader and political party being dominant for more than two decades, is considerably adding to the climate of impunity and complete lack of accountability. But, the government and courts have meanwhile tried to eliminate at least the worst kinds of visible abuse. Since 2004, there has been a moratorium on death penalty. In 2012, a package of laws was carried, criminalizing torture, combating domestic violence and giving more protection to witnesses or other participants in judicial process. That helped to arrive to a landmark court decision in the capital Dushanbe in 2013, whereby a widow of a man who died under police torture in 2011 was granted financial compensation from the Ministry of Interior.