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Tajik Newspaper Editor Convicted Of Theft

25 August 2005 -- A Dushanbe court today sentenced the editor of Tajikistan's independent newspaper "Nerui Sukhan" to two years of labor.

Mukhtor Bokizoda, who also heads the Foundation for Remembrance and Protection of Journalists, was found guilty of stealing electricity by deliberately not paying for power used by a printing house run by the foundation.

Bokizoda denied the charges and said he will appeal his conviction.

"Nerui Sukhan" was effectively shut down on 13 July when Tajik authorities closed its printing plant, a move that prompted the European Union to urge the government to improve media freedom.