11 January 2012, 15:25
Teenager confesses to committing Santa Claus murder in Dushanbe
Dushanbe, January 11, Interfax - A 16 year-old resident of Dushanbe has confessed to killing Parviz Davlatbekov, a young man dressed as Santa Claus, who was murdered during New Year's holidays, the Tajik Interior Ministry reported on Wednesday.
"Davlatbekov sustained two fatal stab wounds. The murderer is a 16 year-old. The suspect has confessed to killing the man," the ministry's press service said.
Parviz Davlatbekov, 24, who was dressed up as Santa Claus, was killed in Dushanbe on January 2. Although the Tajik Interior Ministry claimed the murder, allegedly committed by three university students, was not a religiously-motivated crime, Davlatbekov's relatives keep insisting that the assailants shouted out 'Infidel!' during the attack.
Three accomplices, all of them students of Dushanbe universities, remain in custody. The killing is being probed on counts of inflicting bodily injuries that lead to death.
Sayidmukarram Abdukodirzoda, the head of Tajikistan's Council of Ulems which is a group of scholars and imams that provide interpretations of religious practice, told reporters on December 30 that decorating a New Year's tree and dancing around it go against Tajik cultural traditions and Islam.
Users of social networks think that this careless statement, cited by the world and national media, could have caused the murder indirectly.
The mufti claimed on January 4 that his words were misinterpreted and that he actually meant that the Koran carries no recommendations on whether or not the New Year should be celebrated.