Hundreds of people rallied in front of Kyrgyzstan’s interior ministry in capital Bishkek on Thursday, shouting “Shame!” and demanding the resignation of its leadership for police inaction of the kidnapping and murder of a woman thought to have been a victim of ‘bride kidnapping’.
The kidnapping of Aizada Kanatbekova, 27, was caught on camera with the car model and number plates clearly visible.
The illegal abduction of women for marriage is thought to be widespread in the country but the latest incident has prompted public outrage and calls for senior officials’ resignation.
Prime Minister Ulugbek Sharipov addressed the crowd, asking the people to give police time to investigate the crime.
President Sadyr Japarov said in a statement the culprits would be punished. He also condemned the practice of bride kidnapping, which remains widespread in the former Soviet republic despite official pledges to crack down on it.
The practice involves a potential groom forcibly taking a young woman or girl back to his home before pressuring her to agree to marriage by writing a letter of consent.
Kyrgyzstan outlawed the practice in 2013 after authorities recognised it could lead to marital rape, domestic violence, and psychological trauma. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)