Uzbek Voice of America journalist fined $8,200 for slander

Abdumalik Boboyev – Tashkent’s Mirzo-Ulugbek district court today sentenced Voice of America Uzbek Service journalist Abdumalik Boboyev to a fine of 400 minimum monthly wages (18 million sums or about $8,200) and rejected the prosecution’s request to ban Boboyev from reporting for three years.

The prosecution demanded the journalist be fined 450 minimum wages for slander (Article 139 of the Criminal Code), insult (Article 140) and producing and distributing materials threatening public security and order (Article 244-1).

The journalist’s lawyer said that given the charges, the sentence was very light.

“Article 244-1 of the Criminal Code envisages punishment of five to eight years in prison,” lawyer Sergey Mayorov said. “It is surprising that the judge issued such a minimal sentence – this is very rare in Uzbekistan.”

The verdict does not even mention the prosecution’s request to ban the journalist from reporting for three years.

The charge of illegal crossing the border (Article 223) was dropped by the prosecution during the oral arguments because of the absence of the body of crime.