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Bride Kidnapping: A Tradition Or A Crime?

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Some 200 people took to the streets in a northern Kyrgyz province earlier this week to protest the longstanding practice of bride kidnapping.

The custom -- in which single young men kidnap their bride of choice and pressure them to agree to marriage -- is not uncommon in Kyrgyzstan.

But bride kidnapping has recently come under sharp criticism in the Central Asian country after two kidnapped brides committed suicide in a matter of months.

The site of this week's rally, the northern Issyk-Kul Province, is home to the two suicide victims -- Venera Kasymalieva and Nurzat Kalykova, both 20-year-old students.

The rally, dubbed "Spring without Them," was organized by local women's NGOs and other activists and held in the town of Karakol. During the protest participants called on authorities and community leaders to put an end to the old tradition.

Bride kidnapping is officially a criminal offence in Kyrgyzstan, where the criminal code stipulates a maximum three-year prison term for bride-kidnapping.

In reality, however, few cases reach the courtroom, and those who are tried for bride-kidnapping usually walk away after paying a small fine.

To read the full story

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Bride Kidnapping: A Tradition Or A Crime?

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