A judge in northern Tajikistan yesterday sentenced independent journalist Jumaboy Tolibov to two years in a prison colony on charges of hooliganism, illegally entering a residence, and abusing his office as a local government administrator, according to local and international reports. The defense intends to appeal the verdict.
Nuriddin Karshiboyev, head of the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (NANSMIT), told CPJ that his group believes the charges were fabricated as retaliation for three published commentaries last year in which Tolibov criticized Ayni district prosecutor Sabit Azamov. Karshiboyev called the imprisonment a blow to Tajik journalists' right to investigate the record of public officials.
Marat Mamadshoyev, a NANSMIT correspondent who monitored the 13-day trial in Shahristan district court in the Sogd Region, said the verdict came in the face of contradictory witness statements. Mamadshoyev noted that several key witnesses who allegedly filed complaints against Tolibov were not present in court and instead submitted written testimony, NANSMIT reported.
Tolibov—who is also chairman of the legal department in Ayni's local government—had investigated the performance of the local prosecutor's office last year. During that inquiry, Tolibov alleged, Azamov assaulted him while he was seeking records.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.