BISHKEK, June 5 (The Conway Bulletin) — The death in police custody of a young Kyrgyz woman, allegedly stabbed to death by her abductor, sparked off a wave of anger in Kyrgyzstan over the supposed tradition of bride-kidnapping.
The murder of Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, 20, on May 28 also generated allegations of police incompetence after it emerged that she had been left alone with her abductor before he stabbed her to death.
Kyzy’s parents had taken them to the police station after they realised that she had been bride-kidnapped for the second time by the same man.
In Bishkek a flash mob demonstrated in front of the university against bride-kidnapping President Soroonbai Jeenbekov released a statement condemning the practice. Observers said that there appears to have been a change in sentiment towards bride-kidnapping with younger generations less tolerant. The authorities have previously turned a blind eye to the practice of men kidnapping a woman to become their wife, drawing criticism from human rights groups.
“Those who excuse the practice often claim it is Kyrgyz culture or tradition,” New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “(But) it’s a human rights abuse that the government should act decisively to stop before more women are harmed.”
And this attitude against bride-kidnapping appears to be gaining traction within Kyrgyz society.
“This incident made me feel horrified because she was kidnapped,” Atai Samiybek, 23 told a Conway Bulletin correspondent. “Even police was not able to protect her.”
— This story was first published in issue 374 of The Conway Bulletin