Czech Tourists Arrested for Sporting Borat Mankinis in Kazakhstan

Brunilde Fioravanti
Novembre 15, 2017

The tourists were arrested while posing for a photo in the country's capital, Astana, and wearing Baron Cohen's signature outfit from the movie: a green Speedo stretched over shoulders and exposing the wearer's buttocks.

Local authorities arrested the visitors for minor hooliganism and fined them €57 (NZ$98), before releasing them. The men apparently stripped off their clothes in front of an "I (heart) Astana" sign in the city center as a joke.

Parts of the movie, such as Borat explaining local wine is made from horse urine and saying gay men have to wear blue hats, were not received well.

"I think they would not have reacted in any way. It is because our police are so sensitive", Facebook user Vitaliy Shuptar responded. "It's mad amusing. If you're offended you're a fool", Georg Vassilenko wrote on Facebook.

Kazakh law defines hooliganism as an act that is "a particularly audacious violation of public order" which includes "committing indecent acts". The maximum penalty for hooliganism is up to a year in prison or in a corrective labor camp, however, that is usually reserved for violent offenses. Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, or, y'know, just Borat for short.

Borat is a controversial figure in Kazakhstan, with the character played by English comic Sacha Baron Cohen depicting the Central Asian nation as backwards, institutionally anti-Semitic and destitute. The country has slowly come to terms with the film, however.

Officials later lightened up on Borat - in 2012 the Kazakh foreign minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov publicly thanked the film for attracting more tourism to the country.

However, in the same year, the film spurred controversy again when the spoof Kazakh anthem from the movie was played instead of the real anthem during the Arab Shooting Championships.

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