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A Tajik Bazaar Director Accused of Beating an Orphan to Death Faces Public Fury

The Nazari Nek bazaar was the scene of an alleged murder of two orphans that turned to thievery. Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded January 20.

The Nazari Nek bazaar was the scene of an alleged murder of an orphan that turned to thievery. Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded January 20.

Tajik Facebook users are in shock at the behaviour of a bazaar director in the north of the country after he admitted to beating a 17-year-old orphan to death and seriously injuring another. The bazaar director had previously caught the pair stealing money worth roughly $70 and food from a grocery outlet based within the premises of the Nazari Nek bazaar in Bobojon Ghafurov district.

Witnesses have told media that the two teenagers — residents of a local school-orphanage in the region — shouted “we were hungry”, when they were caught by Nazari Nek's owner Rustam Jurayev and his guards January 17 before being escorted to a closed room. One of the two boys died while inside the room. The second boy remains hospitalised. The director and the guards confessed their guilt in front of police in footage broadcasted by a provincial television station January 20.

Speaking in Tajik, the narrator of the January 20 provincial television report condemns the 39-year-old director for participating in the beating, noting that he owned several luxurious houses, a fleet of expensive cars and had made a pilgrimage to Mecca, a feat few in the majority Muslim republic ever manage to achieve. According to Save the Children, there are roughly 8,000 children living in poorly-funded state-run institutions in Tajikistan. 

In Tajikistan ‘Money Means More than a Human Life’

In a popular public Facebook group Ya Dushanbinets-2 (I am a Dushanbe Resident), most users railed against the bazaar director. Several calls by users of the group to lynch Jurayev have not been included in this report.  

Said Sasha Beorn:

Хотелось бы чтобы в тюрьме ему было не весело.

I hope he will not have a joyful time in a prison.

Samijan Nasirjanov called others in the group not to issue judgement on the crime until all facts were clear:

Не судите,от тюрмы и сумы не зарекаются. Он же не хотел убивать. Он избивал вора, у него не было информации, что вор сирота и кушать хочет, но так вышло, что убил его. Никому не желаю попасть в такую ситуацию.

Do not judge, no one is safe from bad luck. He did not want to kill. He beat a thief, and he did not know that the boy was an orphan and wanted to eat. But it happened that he killed him. I do not wish anyone to be in the same situation.

Olim Abidov responded:

Самиджан, я смотрел сегодня видео, где он и его охраник сказали что ребята говорили им что они сироты с интерната и после того как запинали до смерти мальчишку директор базара хотел с имитировать все так как буто у мальчишки был нож, а директор в целях самообороны переборщил. 

Samijan, I watched the video, where he and his guard said they were told by the boys that they are orphans from the orphanage. After beating the boy to death, the director wanted to stage the story like the boy attacked him with a knife and he just defended himself. 

Aj Sharipov argued that the bazaar director's actions were not those of a religious man: 

Во первых, если этот урод Ходжи, то он был обязан объяснить человеческим языком, что воровать это плохо! И пристроил бы их в какую нибудь точку на своем Харом бозоре, а не руки распускать и заниматься самосудом!  Я надеюсь он будет гнить кусая локти.

Firstly, if this scum is a hoji [person that has completed the pilgrimage to Mecca], he should have explained to the boys that theft is bad! He could have given them a job in his bazaar, rather than beating and lynching them. I hope he will rot in regret.

In general, users of the popular group were simply overwhelmed at how an incident of petty theft had led to such extreme violence:

Мир поменялся… Можно соглашаться с этим или нет, но сегодня, действительно, деньги стоят куда дороже человеческой жизни. И, как видно из этой истории, даже небольшие деньги…

The world has changed. Agree with this or not, but today, money really does mean more than a human life. As we see from this story, this even [applies to] a small amount of money.

Seemingly in response to the public outcry, Tajikistan's long-time President Emomali Rahmon spoke January 23 of the need for an ombudsman focussed on children's rights in the country.

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