Assailants beating Asia-Plus journalist Abdullo Ghurbati identified, fined

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A court in the Khuroson district ruled on June that the assailants will be fined 580 somoni each, Ghurbati’s defense lawyer Abdurahmn Sharipov told Asia-Plus.


According to him, proceedings have been instituted against the assailants under the provisions of Article 460 of Tajikistan’s Administrative Code – minor hooliganism.


“The judge justified his ruling by saying that the attackers’ actions did not pose a danger to others,” Sharipov said.


Recall, three men attacked him on May 29 in the southern province of Khatlon after one of the assailants introduced himself as a village chief and accused the journalist of being “provocateur.”


Abdullo Ghurbati traveled to the Khuroson district to make a report about the aftermath of a recent landslide.


When he approached the tents, the car “Opel Astra” (number plate 1680 AR 03) drove up to him, and three guys got out of the car and attacked the journalist.


Ghurbati is confident the attack was premeditated and might be linked to his professional activities.


It is to be noted that Abdullo Ghurbati has been attacked for the second time in less than a month.


The first attack took place in the evening of May 11 in Dushanbe when Abdullo Ghurbati was on his way home from a grocery store.


The journalist is confident that the attack was planned. Two unknown men in medical masks attacked and punched him for several minutes. The attackers ran away only when Abdullo started screaming and asking for help.


Ghurbati believes that the assault is related to his professional activities. He said that he had received numerous threats during several phone calls from unknown individuals who threatened him for his articles questioning some of the government’s activities, including efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country.


On May 15, four days following the incident, the Interior Ministry instituted criminal proceedings under Article 237 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code (hooliganism) in connection with the assault of Abdullo Ghurbati.


The assault of the journalist raised concerns among the human rights organizations. In particular, Human Rights Watch expressed concern about the assault of Abdullo Ghurbati and called on Tajik authorities to find the attackers.


Similar statements were made by the Committee to Protect Journalists, OSCE and the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe. All these organizations and the U.S. Embassy called on the Tajik authorities to create favorable conditions for journalists to work freely.


A 23-year-old Abdullo Ghurbati has recently became famous for his resonance materials. For instance, in early March, he made a report on the panic at Dushanbe’s markets due to forecasts of a possible shortage of flour.


Abdullo Ghurbati has worked for Asia-Plus since last year. Prior to this, he had cooperated with Tajikistan Center for Investigative Journalism.


Source: Asia Plus