04 January 2012, 19:30
Tajik authorities deny religious motives behind killing of man dressed like Santa
Dushanbe, January 4, Interfax - The killing of a young man dressed like Santa Claus in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, has no religious motives behind it, Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Makhmadullo Asadulloyev told journalists on Wednesday.
Relatives of Parviz Davlatbekov, who was killed on January 2, and Interfax's sources in the Tajik Interior Ministry said earlier that the attackers who killed him shouted "You are infidel!" in Tajik.
"The young men who attacked [Davlatbekov] were intoxicated," Asadulloyev said.
It was reported earlier that three students from the Tajik National University had been detained on Tuesday on suspicion of killing Davlatbekov.
"Following an exchange of epithets between the young man dressed like Santa Claus and intoxicated young men, two knife wounds were caused to Davlatbekov," he said.
Two more people suspected of involvement in the killing are being looked for, he said.
A lot of Tajiks suggested in the local social networking sector that the killing could have been inspired by the fact that Tajik Chief Mufti Saidmukarram Abdukodirzoda had told journalists several days before the New Year's that decorating a tree and dancing and playing games around it, a common New Year's tradition in the former Soviet republics, is incompatible with Tajik culture and is against Islamic principles.