|Pensioner Lyudmila Mikhaylova|
Uzbek judge’s honour rated at nearly $350
Pensioner Lyudmila Mikhaylova, 76, from Tashkent has been fined nearly 1 million sums (about $350) for slander after she assumed that a judge had received a bribe.
The Mirzo-Ulugbek district criminal court on 18 October found Lyudmila Mikhaylova guilty of violating Items A and D of Part 3 of Article 139 of the Criminal Code “- slander by accusing of committing a serious crime.
She was sentenced to a fine that is “lower than the lowest limit” – 15 minimal monthly wages, which is equal to 942,800 sums (about $350).
Items A and D under which Mikhaylova was charged provides for imprisonment of up to three years.
But the pensioner does not think that she was given a “mild punishment” as she is convinced that she did not slander anyone, but only told the truth.
“Do not believe your eyes!”
“Why should I deny what I saw with my own eyes?” Mikhaylova said.
An incident that led to a criminal case against the pensioner took place in the building of the Mirzo-Ulugbek dDistrict civil court on 19 January this year.
Mikhaylova went to Judge Yekaterina Denisova’s office and saw her count a pack of dollars in the presence of lawyer Roza Abdullayeva who was hired by the litigant who brought the case against Mikhaylova.
Based on this fact, Mikhaylova filed a written motion to remove Judge Denisova, which served as a reason for the chairman of the Mirzo-Ulugbek district civil court, Feruz Tursunov, to draw up a formal note on slander which he sent to the prosecutor’s office.
Was the judge impartial?
Mikhaylova does not believe that a judge of the Mirzo-Ulugbek district criminal court, Sagdulla Ashirmatov, was impartial in considering her case on 18 October.
“Ashirmatov, specifically, did not admit my proxy, well-known lawyer Tursunoy Pulatova, as a witness to the trial saying that she was a party involved,” Mikhaylova said.
However, lawyer Abdullayeva and her client, Muhabbat Nurmatova, who Mikhaylova believed were the most interested people, served as witnesses who would have faced criminal penalty if the fact of bribery had been established.
In Pulatova’s opinion, her testimonial evidence was vital for the trial.
She attended the civil proceedings against Mikhaylova and heard the judge say in public in response to accusations from the pensioner that she did not take a bribe but “was counting money for her secretary to cover postal costs”.
In Pulatova’s opinion, the acknowledgement of the very fact of counting money in the presence of the opposing party’s lawyer changes the case fundamentally.
“Based on this fact, anyone could assume that it was a bribe and request to remove the judge while there is not and cannot be any slander in this case,” Pulatova said.
Nowhere else has judge Denisova mentioned her words that she was counting money for postal costs and she did not turn up for the trial of Mikhaylova.
Fined for the truth
Pensioner Mikhaylova appealed against the decision of the Mirzo-Ulugbek district criminal court last Friday and hopes that the Tashkent city court will be more impartial.
At the same time, Tashkent-based human rights activists do not share the pensioner’s hopes.
“Now authorities in Uzbekistan pursue a policy of imposing devastating court fines for slander on everyone who dares to tell the truth. In such a situation, Mikhaylova cannot hope for the impartiality of city court judges,” human rights activist Vladimir Husainov said.