DUSHANBE, February 17, 2011, Asia-Plus -- A court in Dushanbe’s Firdavsi district has begun hearing a lawsuit   filed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) against the Bureau for Consultations, Linguistic Expertise and Journalist Investigation today.

The preliminary hearing over the lawsuit against the Bureau, which is founder of the Dushanbe independent weekly, Paykon , was held on February 10.

The Bureau director also chief editor of Paykon, Juma Tolib, says the ministry now demands the closure of this public association, while at first it applied for just temporarily suspending the Bureau’s activity.

The ministry applied to the court because the Bureau is allegedly not registered with the tax inspectorate.

Juma Tolib, however, insists that the public association was registered with the tax inspectorate in Firdavsi district in February 2009.

The Ministry of Justice considers that the Bureau has changed its legal address and has not informed the registering body of that.

In the meantime,   lawyer Shuhrat Qudratov, representing the Bureau, says accusations brought by the MoJ against the Bureau are baseless, because the Bureau just moved from one floor to another in the same building, Sharqi Ozod publishing house.

Juma Tolib supposes that the main reason for an attempt to close the Bureau is a number of critical articles that were published in the October and January editions of Paykon (“Resignation” and “Buzkashi (goat grabbing) around TSUM”) and displeased the authorities.