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Tajikistan: Journalist Khayrullo Mirsaidov is free but his conviction remains

Monument to court poet Abu Rudaki, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 22 March 2015
Monument to court poet Abu Rudaki, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 22 March 2015

Flickr/Robert Wilson (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This statement was originally published on on 22 August 2018.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcomes today's release of Khayrullo Mirsaidov, a well-known former journalist who had been held for more than eight months, and calls on Tajikistan's authorities to overturn his conviction.

Mirsaidov, who headed the national Comedy Club team at the time of his arrest last December, was freed after an appeal court in the northern city of Khujand today upheld his conviction but commuted his 12-year jail sentence to payment of a fine and damages.

"We are very relieved to know that Khayrullo Mirsaidov is free," said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF's Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. "The Tajik authorities must now overturn his conviction and release their tight grip on the country's media."

Mirsaidov continues to be convicted on trumped-up charges of misusing public funds, forgery and defamation but the court reduced his sentence to a fine of 80,000 somoni (7,300 euros) and a levy of 20% of his salary for two years.

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