Tuesday, April 17, 2012 -
The trial over the murder of a young man killed while wearing a Santa Claus costume in late December began on Tuesday in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.
Four defendants charged in the murder were present at the courthouse, while another four are being tried in absentia, local news agency AsiaPlus.tj reported.
One of those charged in the death of Parviz Davlatbekov, 24, is a teenager of 16.
Witness Jovid Gadomamadov, who was with Davlatbekov when he was killed, gave testimony to the court as to what transpired on the night of December 31, 2011.
“In the evening of December 31, we decided to congratulate our relatives, Parviz in his case put on a suit of Santa Claus,” he said.
He said one of the defendants, Farrukh Samiev, approached Davlatbekov and demanded a gift. Davlatbekov and Gadomamadov broke away from the crowd, but were then surrounded when they entered the lobby of a 12-storey building.
“There a fight broke out. When we ran to the door, the crowd fled, shouting that the police were coming and saw the bloodied Parviz. All this happened within five minutes. By taxi, we took him to Karobolo, and doctors began the operation. Parviz died in hospital a day later without regaining consciousness,” Gadomamadov said.
The murder sent a ripple throughout Tajikistan as initial reports claimed Davlatbekov was killed for religious reasons. Tajik police downplayed that assertion, insisting the crowd was not shouting “Infidel!” as he was beaten to death.