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AFP
April 9, 2021

Protest in Kyrgyzstan after bride kidnap and murder

World

AFP
April 9, 2021

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: Hundreds of people rallied in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on Thursday calling for police chiefs to be sacked after a young woman abducted for marriage was found dead in a country where bride kidnapping is systemic.

Police said ON Wednesday the body of 27-year-old Aizada Kanatbekova had been found outside Bishkek two days after security camera footage widely shared on social networks showed her being bundled into a car by three men.

Kanatbekova’s kidnapper and assumed murderer was also found dead, police said, adding that he had likely committed suicide. One of the other kidnappers was detained by police, state television reported on Thursday.

Bride kidnapping, known locally as Ala Kachuu, has roots in the Central Asian country’s nomadic past and persisted into the Soviet era, albeit on a smaller scale. But the practice became chronic after the country gained independence in 1991, with convictions extremely rare and survivors reluctant to file complaints due to threats of violence and cultural stigma.

Journalist Mahinur Niyazova, who tweeted a call to rally outside the interior ministry headquarters, told AFP that the murder showed police had other priorities rather than defending women from violence. "It is impossible to be quiet and observe the violence that our women, who lack any rights, must endure," said Niyazova, who is deputy editor of popular news website 24.kg.