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Uzbek Official Fined For Insulting Teachers In Public

The mayor of the eastern city of Andijon has been fined for insulting teachers in public in what is believed to be an unprecedented court ruling in Uzbekistan.

The Prosecutor-General's Office said a local court ruled on December 26 that Dilmurod Rahmatullaev must pay 5 million soms ($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.

In the speech, Mirziyoev called on officials to improve communications with citizens.

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.

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