Friday 14 October 2011

Good news, bad news

Good news and bad news in the Urunboy Usmonov soap opera in Tajikistan. Good news first – the BBC journalist is now a free man. Bad news: he was found guilty of complicity with islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and condemned to three years in jail - but the judge decided to grant him amnesty. The decision sounds to me like a confession by the Tajik authorities that they couldn’t find any firm evidence, after all, that Usmonov has been helping the islamist group in its “extremist activities” (nonsense, it is a peaceful organization). The Tajik authorities lost a good opportunity to back off and admit they were wrong to arrest him. Usmonov will now appeal and, hopefully, will clean its name. For the sake of free press in Central Asia.

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