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Journalist spared punishment in partial court victory

(RSF/IFEX) - 8 December 2011 - Reporters Without Borders is relieved that the journalist Makhmadyusuf Ismoilov has been spared any penalty in the case brought against him over his investigation of alleged corruption by local officials, but calls again for a review of the verdict and full recognition of his innocence.

The regional court in the northern province of Sughd yesterday upheld a decision by a lower court in the north-western city of Taboshar which found him guilty of defamation, insult and inciting hatred. However, in view of a recent amnesty he was spared the penalties originally imposed by the lower court, consisting of a fine of 35,000 somoni (approximately 5,400 euros) and a ban on practising his profession for three years.

"We are pleased that the pressure on Makhmadyusuf Ismoilov has at last eased to some extent, but we deplore once again the hypocrisy of the legal system in this matter," the press freedom organization said.

"As in the case of BBC journalist Urinboy Usmonov, it is trying to save face. However, it must not be forgotten that the journalist spent 11 months in custody as a result of the investigation. We fully support the action of his lawyers who are preparing to appeal to a higher jurisdiction to seek the acknowledgment of their client's innocence."

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