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Libel Suit Exposes Disgust with Tajikistan’s Judiciary

Behind closed doors, this week a Tajik court ruled in a controversial libel case. To no one’s surprise the plaintiff – the son of a high-ranking government official – won. That Tajikistan’s rich and powerful use courts to bully the media is nothing new, but, this time, the process has exposed Tajiks’ apparently widespread hatred for their country’s judiciary.

In 2010, Rustam Khukumov was sentenced to almost 10 years in a Russian prison, charged, along with three other Tajik nationals, with possessing nine kilos of heroin.

Khukumov is the son of the powerful head of Tajikistan’s railway boss, Amonullo Khukumov. The senior Khukumov is an ally and relative of the Tajik strongman, President Emomali Rakhmon (Khukumov is father-in-law to Rakhmon’s daughter). Could that have anything to do with why the Khukumov scion was released early, under murky circumstances, only a year into his jail term?

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Libel Suit Exposes Disgust with Tajikistan’s Judiciary

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