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Authorities Raid Tajik Weekly As Campaign Against Independent Press Continues

Tajikistan -- Banned Tajik newspapers "Faraj" and " Paikan", Dushanbe, 14Oct2010
Tajikistan -- Banned Tajik newspapers "Faraj" and " Paikan", Dushanbe, 14Oct2010
Equipment from the offices of the
independent Tajik weekly "Paikon" was confiscated yesterday in line with a court
ruling that the newspaper pay a 300,000 somoni ($67,153) fine for libeling the
state agency Tojikstandart, RFE's Tajik Service reports.

"Paikon" correspondent Ahliddin Salimpour told RFE that court bailiffs took
two computers, a scanner, and a printer from the newspaper's offices.

In 2009, "Paikon" published a statement made by a group of businessmen who
accused Tojikstandart of obstructing their activities. Tojikstandart brought a
court case for defamation against "Paikon" and demanded compensation for the
moral damage the article caused.

In October 2009, Dushanbe's Firdavsi district court ordered "Paikon" to pay
300,000 somonis in compensation.

Tajik lawyer Shuhrat Qudratov said the property confiscated by the court did
not belong to "Paikon" but to the Bureau of Linguistic Expertise, Legal Advice,
and Journalistic Investigations which, like "Paikon," belongs to journalist
Jumaboy Tolibov.

Nuriddin Qarshiboev, chairman of the National Association of Independent Media
of Tajikistan, said the rationale for the court case against "Paikon" was not
to ensure that justice prevailed, but to "strike fear in the hearts" of

"Paikon" publishes 2,000 copies per week. Its editors are hoping that other
newspapers will agree to publish reports written by "Paikon" journalists in the
event it cannot continue publishing.

Such mutual assistance is becoming a tradition among hard-pressed independent
publications in Tajikistan facing harassment by the state.

Compiled by RFE's Tajik service and O wire.