TASHKENT (TCA) — The mayor of Uzbekistan’s eastern city of Andijon has been fined for insulting teachers in public — an unprecedented court ruling in the tightly controlled country, RFE/RL reports.
The Prosecutor-General’s Office said a local court ruled on December 26 that Dilmurod Rahmatullaev must pay 5 million Uzbek soums ($640) for publicly insulting several people.
It is widely believed to be the first instance since Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991 in which an official has been punished for insulting someone who is not in a position of power.
The ruling came four days after President Shavkat Mirziyoev, in a state-of-the-nation address, condemned officials who use vulgar words when talking to their subordinates or ordinary citizens.
Speaking to parliament on December 22, Mirziyoev vowed to pursue reforms and called on Uzbek government officials to improve communications with ordinary people.
Mirziyoev condemned officials, not mentioning names, who use vulgar words when talking to their subordinates or ordinary citizens.
“Governors of three districts cannot speak to the people. Who gave them the right to insult people? That shows their ignorance and illiteracy,” he said, referring to recent media reports that carried videos of local authorities beating and insulting people.
Mirziyoev was named interim president after the death of autocratic longtime President Islam Karimov was announced in September 2016 and was elected in a tightly controlled vote in December that year.
He has taken steps aimed to decrease Uzbekistan’s isolation, establish “a dialogue” between authorities and ordinary people, and mend tense ties with neighboring Central Asian countries.