Libel Tourism Fail

by Nathan Hamm on 5/30/2011 · 2 comments

Lola Karimova’s effort to punish Rue89, an online French magazine, for making the fairly uncontroversial statement that her father’s government in Uzbekistan is a dictatorship looks to be backfiring. Over at TOL, Barbara Frye has a great account of developments at the trial in a Paris court. Rue89’s attorneys are calling activists and people who have in some way been victimized by Karimov’s government, turning this lawsuit in an opportunity to embarrass Uzbekistan’s government rather than redeem the Karimov name. Here’s a selection from an exchange involving Nadezhda Ataieva (who apparently blogged about her testimony; who has a link?).

A tribunal judge asked her, “Karimov’s daughers, are they useful to Uzbekistan?”

“Lola Karimova spends her time organizing fashion shows in Europe, for her, for her image. How is that useful? Besides, who funds these shows?”

Did Lola really expect this to go well for her? The stakes area much higher than for other post-Soviet libel tourists; it’s not just the Karimov name that’s drawing high-profile, public attention, but the reputation of the entire Uzbek state.

In unrelated Uzbekistan news worth reading, Cornelius Graubner has interesting commentary on German disillusionment with Uzbekistan at EurasiaNet. German investors, at the very least, are getting fed up with the frustrations of trying to accomplish anything in Uzbekistan. For what it’s worth, I agree with the German government’s inclination toward a pro-engagement policy, but the key to success in Uzbekistan, perhaps, is to gauge the level of engagement toward not expecting to accomplish much.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Uzbekistan Tashkent May 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I would like to be part of the testimony against Lola Karimova Libel suit. I was kidnapped by Uzbek Intelligence agency officials on 10th December 2009 and never produced in front of any court, nor allowed to hire a lawyer and thrown out of the country after 124 days in detention. read my story
My contact numbers are: +92-3158532963

Turgai June 1, 2011 at 5:11 am

“German disillusionment with Uzbekistan”

Well, that makes me laugh. What did they expected then? If you decide to do business with riff-raff about which it is generally well-known what sort of people they are, expect to reap as you sow.

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