Hundreds Protest in Kyrgyzstan Over the Murder of ‘Bride Kidnapping’ Victim

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Bishkek on April 8 to call for the dismissal of officials after the murder of a woman abducted for marriage.

Some 500 people rallied in front of the headquarters of the interior ministry after police recovered the body of 27-year-old Aizada Kanatbekova in an abandoned car outside of Bishkek last April 7, two days after security footage, which circulated widely on social media, showed three men forcing her into a vehicle.

Police also found the body of Kanatbekova’s kidnapper and suspected murderer with knife wounds, believed to be self-inflicted.

Police also detained one of the kidnappers, according to a report by state television.

The protesters called for Interior Minister Ulan Niyazbekov and the police chief to be fired over inaction on the incident in the country where “bride kidnapping,” locally known as Ala Kachuu, is believed to be widespread.

“It is impossible to be quiet and observe the violence that our women, who lack any rights, must endure,” local news website deputy editor Mahinur Niyazova, who tweeted the call to protest, told AFP News.

Niyazova further said that the incident showed police had other priorities than to defend women from violence.

Prime Minister Ulugbek Maripov told the protesters to “have patience” while the police conduct the investigation and he promised that those involved in the kidnapping would be punished.

However, the crowd also called for the sacking of Maripov.

President Sadyr Japarov stated on Facebook that Kanatbekova’s death was “a tragedy and pain not only for her family, but also for our entire state” and that her abduction should be “the last bride kidnapping in history.”

According to data from the United Nations, one in five marriages in Kyrgyzstan occur after a bride kidnapping incident.

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