DUSHANBE, March 10, 2011, Asia-Plus -- A court in Dushanbe’s Firdavsi district today adjourned hearing over lawsuit filed by Anvar Taghoymurodov, head of the Interior Ministry organized crime control department (UBOP), against the Asia-Plus newspaper for uncertain period. 

According to the Asia-Plus editor Marat Mamadshoyev, the Firdavsi district court has justified the decision to adjourn the hearing by saying that the Dushanbe city court is currently considering a complaint lodged by Asia-Plus against ruling handed down by the presiding judge on February 14.

We will recall that in a ruling handed down on February 14, Judge Nusratullo Asadullo dismissed counterclaim filed by Asia-Plus against the plaintiff.  The newspaper editor Marat Mamadshoyev filed a counterclaim against Taghoymurodov for protection of the newspaper’s business reputation, asking for 15,000 somoni in damages from the UBOP chief, but the judge said Mamadshoyev failed to produce any official documentation to prove he is empowered to take legal action on behalf of Asia Plus and threw out the counterclaim filed by Mamadshoyev against Taghoymurodov.

As it had been reported earlier, Judge Nusratullo Asadullo adjourned the hearing on February 24 until March 10, noting that they sides should prepare all necessary documents by the next meeting for beginning of a trial on the merits.

On February 24, Asia-Plus submitted a copy of order on appointment of Marat Mamadshoyev acting editor-chief of Asia-Plus and document empowering Mamadshoyev to take legal action on behalf of the newspaper to the court.  The newspaper also lodged the complaint against ruling handed down by the presiding judge at the January 14 hearing.  Under Article 150 (2) of the Civil Procedure Code of Tajikistan, the judged was to hold the preliminary hearing with participation of the parties and their representatives, but he did not do that.

The UBOP chief Anvar Taghoymurodov in late January filed the defamation lawsuit in the court in Dushanbe’s Firdavsi district against the Asia-Plus newspaper, asking for 1 million somoni as compensation for moral damage caused by article published by the newspaper.  The Interior Ministry high-ranking official who filed the lawsuit as private citizen claims that the article entitled “Investigation or Inquisition?” printed in the newspaper in December 2010 defames his honor and reputation.

The article published in the December 21, 2010 edition of the newspaper told of the use of torture on some suspects by UBOP agents in Sughd province.