A man in Tajikistan has been fined the equivalent of four months’ wages after breaking the country’s law against holding birthday parties in public.
Amirbek Isayev was fined 4,000 somonis (£400/$600) for celebrating his 25th birthday at a bar with 13 friends after posting photos on social media. The pictures were used as evidence by prosecutors who successfully showed that he had broken a 2007 designed to prevent excessive spending.
President Emomalii Rahmon passed the law after claiming the national habit of holding extravagant birthday celebrations was leading some families to ruin as they tried to outdo one another. The law restricts parties to 150 guests who must all be from within the family, and requires that celebrations be held in private.
Organisers of such parties are even required to tell the authorities of their plans, including how many guests will attend, how long they expect it to last and even what food they will be serving.
The event took place on June 5 in an Irish pub in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital. Isayev initially claimed it was just a friends’ night out, but the court did not believe him.
He told Radio Free Europe: “I was aware of the law, but I always thought it was against people who spend lots of money to throw lavish parties.” He claims he and his friends spent 540 somonis (£55/$85) in total.
The offending photos have now been removed from his Facebook profile and he is appealing to friends and family to raise the money to pay his fine.
Emomalii Rahmon has been the autocratic ruler of Tajikistan since 1992. In 2013, he was re-elected with 84 per cent of the vote after his main rival, human rights activist Oynihol Bobonazarova, was barred from running after failing to collect enough signatures for her nomination. Her party blamed local officials for harassing activists who were trying find people to sign her nomination.