Kyrgyzstan: National-patriots attack women’s rights rally


Women’s rights campaigners in Kyrgyzstan’s capital were assaulted by dozens of self-styled traditionalists on April 14 while holding a rally to call on the government to do more to combat gender-based violence. Police did not intervene. The demonstration held outside the Interior Ministry headquarters was another event reflecting the upswell of indignation provoked by last week’s kidnapping and murder of Bishkek resident Aizada Kanatbekova. The 27-year-old was snatched from near her home by a four-man gang led by a man who had made repeated and insistent overtures to Kanatbekova. Police have said that the kidnapper, Zamirbek Tenizbayev, committed suicide after strangling Kanatbekova and that his three accomplices have been arrested. What has angered many activists is that in addition to pursuing the perpetrators of the crime, police have, according to Kanatbekova’s relatives, been seeking to dig up any evidence that might also show the young woman in a bad light. Law enforcement is showing signs of wilting under the spotlight following revelations that police failed to act in a timely manner over Kanatbekova’s kidnapping and subsequent murder. The head of Bishkek police and 11 officers have been dismissed, while dozens of others received formal reprimands.

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