DUSHANBE, August 2, Asia-Plus — Following an application lodged by variety singer Raikhona, a prosecutor’s office in Dushanbe has instituted criminal proceedings against Saida Qurbonova, editor-in-chief of the Dushanbe weekly Ovoza (Rumors), and two correspondents of this weekly, Muhayo Nozimova and Farangis Nabiyeva, Asia-Plus has learned from the correspondent’s defense lawyer Inoyat Inoyatov 

According to him,  Raikhona has lodged the application to the Dushanbe city prosecutor’s office after an article, titled “Raikhona pi-pi-pi Afghoniston” (Ovoza, # 25, June 21, 2007), by Muhayo Nozimova and Farangis Nabiyeva allegedly defamed her.  

The journalists face charges under Article 35, Part 2 (defamation) and 136, Part, Point “A” (insult) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code.  

Inoyatov, said that the case had been sent for inquiry to the Dushanbe police directorate.  According to him, it ha not been legal to institute these criminal proceedings.  “The case of protection of honor and dignity should be considered within the framework of the civil legal proceedings,” Inoyatov said. 

The Ovoza editor Saida Qurbonova said in an interview with Asia-Plus that in their article, the correspondents had referred to the primary source – www.mynet.tj .  “If this article violates the legislation, why they did not institute criminal proceedings against this website,” she said. 

Qurbonova is sure that she and her correspondents did not violate the legislation and said that they will dispute their rightness in court.