Protesters urged the Interior Minister to resign following the kidnapping and murder of 27-year-old girl Aizada Kanatbekova.
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry on Thursday, criticizing the police’s failure to act in the murder of a woman kidnapped for her husband.
Aizada Kanatbekova, 27, was kidnapped on April 5.
Two days later, she was found strangled in a car in the countryside, along with a suspect murderer who died from a knife wound, apparently from her own cause.
His suspected accomplice has been detained.
Public anger grew at the police’s failure to find the suspect, although the abduction was recorded on camera with the car and the car’s license plate.
The protesters are calling on senior interior ministry officials to step down.
Bride abduction is still common in the former Soviet republic, despite official commitments to prevent it.
This practice involves a potential groom forcibly bringing a woman or a young girl home before pressuring her to agree to marry by writing a letter of consent.
‘The end of the murder’
About 500 people gathered in front of the ministry headquarters in Bishkek, on Thursday, shouting “Shame!”.
They urged the interior minister and city police chief to resign, with some holding banners bearing slogans like “Who will answer Aizada’s murder?”, “Let’s end the female murder. “and” Who still thinks murder is a tradition? “
Journalist Mahinur Niyazova, who tweeted calling for protests outside the building, told AFP news agency that the murder showed police had other priorities beyond protecting women from violence.
“It is impossible to silence and witness the violence that our women, who do not have any rights,” said Niyazova, deputy editor of the 24-pound newspaper of a news website. contain.
Prime Minister Ulugbek Maripov addressed the crowd, asking everyone to give police time to investigate the crime.
Some protesters yelled at him and called for him to be fired, as well, AFP reported.
President declares killing a ‘tragedy’
In a statement, President Sadyr Japarov said the perpetrator would be punished, calling Kanatbekova’s death a “tragedy”.
He also condemned the abduction of the bride, which the country banned in 2013 after authorities realized it could lead to marital rape, domestic violence and psychological trauma.
The custom, known locally as Ala Kachuu, has its roots in the nomadic past of the Central Asian country and dates back to the Soviet era, albeit on a smaller scale.
But it became chronic after the country gained independence in 1991, with extremely rare convictions and reluctant survivors filing complaints due to threats of violence and cultural discrimination.
The last time a fatal bride abduction caused protesters to take to the streets in Kyrgyzstan was in 2018, when 20-year-old medical student Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy was killed in the police station, where the police kept her together. to the kidnapper when she’s about to report. against him.
According to the office of the United Nations Women in Bishkek, one fifth of marriages in the impoverished republic of 6.5 million ended after a bride abduction.