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Jailed Tajik Journalist Released --> Jumaboy Tolibov at his trial on 28 July (RFE/RL) Dushanbe, 16 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Authorities in Tajikistan have released journalist Jumaboy Tolibov, whose detention had been condemned by international media-rights groups, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported.

Tolibov was freed today, two months after the country's Supreme Court initially ordered his release.

Tolibov was jailed in July on charges of drunken behavior and abusing his position as a local government adviser. Tolibov has always maintained his innocence, saying he was punished for writing about alleged local government corruption.

"I committed no crime,” Tolibov said after being released. “I went through all this just because of the articles I wrote defending people's rights."

Tolibov said the first weeks of his detention were hard, but that conditions improved after the director of the country's penitentiary system was replaced in October. He added that he was not mistreated or tortured while in prison.

Tolibov's jailing was monitored and publicized by a range of governments and international and local media rights groups.

Reporters Without Borders condemned what it called the "utterly disproportionate sentence" Tolibov was given and said "free expression is under great threat in Tajikistan if criticism of the authorities is treated as a serious crime."

Tolibov expressed gratitude to those who supported him throughout the process, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Reporters Without Borders, and association of independent media in Tajikistan.

Tolibov plans to give further details of his incarceration and release at a press conference on 17 December.

Asked what his plans are now, Tolibov said "I was a journalist before being imprisoned and I will continue being a journalist now."