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Welcome to Tajikistan, Where Celebrating Your Birthday Is a Crime

Tajikistan Travel
by Dan Peleschuk Aug 27, 2015

We hate to break it to you, but it’s probably time to cancel that epic birthday bash you were planning in Tajikistan.

It’s not because of the Central Asian country’s extreme remoteness, or its stifling political climate.

It’s because Tajikistan is just no place for good parties, and 25-year-old Amirbek Isayev has learned that the hard way.

Isayev was fined about $600 — roughly four times the average monthly salary in the impoverished and landlocked country — after a Tajik court ruled last month he’d violated a 2007 ban on public birthday celebrations.

“I was aware of the law,” he told RFE/RL’s Tajik service this week, “but I always thought it was against people who spend lots of money to throw lavish parties.”

That’s partly true.

The law “on regulation of traditions, celebrations and rituals” was aimed at reducing the financial burden on Tajik families who’ve been prone to outdo themselves over a range of celebrations, RFE/RL reports. It stipulates that birthday parties must be celebrated at home among family.

That’s exactly what Isayev claims he was doing.

Except at one point, he and his girlfriend decided to head out for a cake, stopping by a local bar on the way home to join some friends for a drink.

While there, two buddies reportedly smeared his face with the cake — but no one congratulated him on his birthday, claims a waiter who was a witness in the case.

Still, photos of the occasion, which Isayev himself later posted to Facebook, apparently drew the ire of local authorities — who were clearly in no mood for a party.

By Dan Peleschuk, GlobalPost
This article is syndicated from GlobalPost.

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