As should probably have been expected, a countersuit filed by journalist Dayirbek Orunbekov against the president of Kyrgyzstan has fallen at the first hurdle.
Pervomaisky district court’s ruling on February 15 was clear — Almazbek Atambayev did not insult the editor of Kyrgyz-language news website Maalymat.kg.
Orunbekov has already said he will appeal the decision within the month at a city court in the capital, Bishkek.
The dispute dates back to late 2014, when Orunbekov ran a story accusing Atambayev of being implicated in the 2010 ethnic clashes in Osh between Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities that left several hundred dead. Atambayev only assumed the presidency after winning an election in 2011, but he was serving in the interim government that took power after the bloody overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010.
The General Prosecutor’s Office responded to the piece by filing a defamation lawsuit in April 2015 against Orunbekov.
Orunbekov lost the case and was ordered to pay $26,000 in damages to Atambaev.
Media advocacy groups were unimpressed.
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