DUSHANBE, March 20, 2012, Asia-Plus -- The board of the Dushanbe city court has overturned rulings handed down by the district court in Dushanbe''s Firdavsi district and appeals court of the Dushanbe court over the Dushanbe independent weekly Millat (Nation).

The Millat editor-in-chief Adolat Mirzo told Asia-Plus this today.  According to her, by the city court board’s decision the weekly’s case has been remitted for reconsideration.  The decision was made on March 14.

We will recall that Millat was officially charged with libel in January of 2010.  The Tajik Agriculture Ministry filed the defamation lawsuit Millat in a court in Dushanbe’s Firdavsi district on January 28, 2010.  Ministry spokesman Nazrullo Dadaboyev noted that time that the weekly had printed an article in December of 2009 that gave “wrong and unproven information stating that the ministry is allegedly corrupted.”

The weekly representatives noted that the information in the article was based on results of a parliamentary investigation in which ministry officials were found to have either misused or stole some 60.5 million U.S. dollars of state funds.

The ministry said the article was libelous and asked for 1 million somoni from Millat as compensation.

The trial had lasted more than one year and in a ruling handed down on February 8, 2011 at the district court in Dushanbe’s Firdavsi district, Judge Dilorom Abdurahimova decided that Millat must pay 1,500 somoni to the ministry in moral damages and make an official apology to it.

Millat’s lawyer Junaid Ibodov said that time that the court''s ruling was unjustified, because the newspaper had quoted officials responsible for fighting corruption and had official statistics that showed corruption levels at the ministry.  Ibodov said Millat would appeal the ruling to the Dushanbe city court.