- Reckless prank caused Moscow’s metro to sound the alarm.
- Karomat Dzhaborov was found guilty of hooliganism.
- Video blogger has been sentenced to 28 months behind bars.
Russian court sentenced a scandalous Tajik video blogger to 2 years and 4 month in prison after a crude prank in Moscow subway in February last of year, when he pretended to be “mortally infected” with coronavirus and was convulsing on the subway’s car floor, causing fellow passengers to sound the alarm.
Karomat Dzhaborov was found guilty of hooliganism by a judge in the Russian capital on Monday over the prank, which was filmed by his friends at the time when fears of the emerging virus were just beginning to pick up. Stanislav Melikhov and Artur Isachenko, who were with him at the time, were both given two-year suspended sentences.
In the video, published on his ‘Kara Prank’ Instagram channel, Dzhaborov can be seen stumbling in a packed metro carriage and falling to the ground. When concerned commuters step in to help him, he begins writhing and clutching his throat as if having a seizure. Someone in the clip then shouts “coronavirus,” sending passengers scrambling away from him.
Police detained the prankster a few days later and, when it emerged he had given the wrong address to interrogators, he was held in jail in the lead-up to the trial. Prosecutors had originally been seeking a four-year prison spell for the Tajik national.
Law enforcement officials said that Dzhabarov had deliberately “provoked panic” on the transit system, at a time when news of COVID-19’s spread in China and elsewhere was beginning to hit the headlines and the severity and symptoms of the disease were poorly understood. At the time, only two cases of the virus had been documented in Russia, but 6.21 million people have since officially tested positive.