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Former Dushanbe Zoo Director Found Liable For Bear Incident

Lisa Shmyakina (right)
Lisa Shmyakina (right)
DUSHANBE -- The former director of the Dushanbe Zoo has been found liable for an incident that resulted in a girl losing her hand in 2006, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Muhammadjon Mirzoev was sentenced to five years in jail but left the courtroom a free man.

The Dushanbe court retroactively took into account a prisoner amnesty announced at the end of 2006, which the court said applied to Mirzoev's case.

In May 2006, the 10-year daughter of a Russian officer was severely bitten by a bear in the zoo as she attempted to feed the caged animal.

Doctors had to amputate Liza Shmyakina's right hand after the incident.

Her parents, Igor Shmyakin and Olga Kostryakova, told RFE/RL that they believe Mirzoev should be responsible for paying their daughter's medical bills and be responsible for a lifetime pension for their daughter. They also say they would like to see the bear killed.

Meanwhile, Mirzoev says he will appeal the verdict. He says the incident was the fault of the parents, who allowed the girl to get too close to the cage.