MONGOLIA


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APRIL 27, 2004
Posted:May 12, 2004

A. Erdenetuya, Mongolyn Neg Odor
IMPRISONED, LEGAL ACTION

The Bayanzurkh District Court convicted Erdenetuya, a writer for the private weekly Mongolyn Neg Odor (A Day in Mongolia), of criminal libel, an offense under the Mongolian Criminal Code, and sentenced her to three months and one day in prison and a fine of 900,000 tugriks (about US$803). Following the trial, Erdenetuya was imprisoned at the Gants Khudag Detention Center, outside the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

The libel charge was filed by D. Moron, a member of Parliament and former chairman of the General Police Department. The charge stemmed from an article Erdenetuya wrote alleging that Moron was the illegitimate father of a woman accused of murder. According to the private, English-language weekly UB Post, Moron denies that the accused woman is his daughter.

The journalistís sentence was widely condemned by Mongolian civil society and journalistsí groups, which contend that the verdict is intended to intimidate journalists. About 100 journalists gathered outside the courtroom to protest the courtís decision, and dozens of police escorted Erdenetuya during the proceedings, according to news reports.