Tajikistan man fined for holding 'illegal' birthday party

Isayev Amirbek was celebrating his 25th birthday

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The Independent Online

A man has reportedly been fined for holding an ‘illegal’ birthday party in Tajikistan.

Isayev Amirbek, who was celebrating his 25th birthday, posted photos on Facebook showing his visit to a café with his birthday cake, according to the BBC.

The photos 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”, which bans the celebration of birthdays anywhere except in the privacy of the family circle.

The law is aimed to regulate citizens’ public functions to preserve traditions and prevent excessive spending.

As such, it limits the number of guests, how much money can be spent and the duration of the gathering.

The post on social media, along with messages of congratulations from friends, has landed him a fine of 4,000 somoni (£400), according to Top TJ news.

Court officials said it was the first time Tajik prosecutors had used Facebook photos and comments as evidence in such a case.

While Amirbek conceded he was in the café with friends on the date in question, he said it was a spontaneous decision after going into a shop to pick up the cake, not a planned celebration.

“Somehow, the cake got plastered on his face. No one congratulated him on his birthday,” a waiter told the court.

The explanation was not accepted by the judge.

“I was aware of the law,” Amirbek told Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Liberty, “but I always thought it was against people who spend lots of money and throw lavish parties.”

On his Facebook page, Amirbek said he does not possess the money for the fine and intends to make an appeal to a higher court.

Last year, the law against celebrating birthdays in public was apparently violated 394 times.