Tajikistan: Man fined over 'illegal' birthday party

By News from Elsewhere...
...as found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightWikimedia/Puschinka
image caption"Somehow, the cake got plastered on his face. No-one congratulated him on his birthday."

A man in Tajikistan has been fined for breaking the country's law against celebrating birthdays in public, it's been reported.

Birthday boy Isayev Amirbek posted photos on Facebook showing his visit to a cafe with a birthday cake, which were used as evidence that he had broken Article 8 of a law entitled "On regulation of traditions and customs in the Republic of Tajikistan". The law bans the celebration of birthdays anywhere except in the privacy of the family circle, the Top TJ news website reports. The social media post - complete with messages of congratulations from friends - landed him a fine of 4,000 somoni ($634; £400).

While Mr Amirbek conceded that he was in the cafe with friends on the date in question, he said it was a spur-of-the-moment decision after going to a shop to pick up a cake, and not a planned celebration. "Somehow, the cake got plastered on his face. No-one congratulated him on his birthday, " a waiter told the court, an explanation not accepted by the judge.

Mr Amirbek is not the first person to have fallen foul of the law, which aims to preserve Tajikistan's traditions and prevent excessive spending on parties. The News.tj website notes that it was violated 394 times in 2014, citing the Tajik Governmental Committee for Religious Affairs and Regulation of National Customs and Traditions.

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