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28 May 2023

'Father Christmas' stabbed to death


Attackers brutally stabbed to death a man dressed up as Father Christmas in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, officials said on Monday.

Dressed in the red robes of Father Frost -- the similarly-clad equivalent of Father Christmas in ex-Soviet states -- the man was attacked while on his way to congratulate relatives during New Year's night, the interior ministry said.

"He was stabbed in the stomach and vital organs several times and it was not possible to save him due to the loss of blood," a spokesman for the interior ministry told AFP. The man's name was not given but he was 25.

One of three suspected attackers has been arrested but it is unclear if the crime was motivated by religious extremism or hooliganism, the spokesman said.
Islamist leaders in Muslim but officially secular Tajikistan have sometimes warned against celebrating what they see as an imported festivity.