Prosecutors in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, have launched a criminal investigation into possible official negligence in the case of a suspected murder-suicide that has mobilized public anger over the ongoing practice of “bride kidnapping.”
The bodies of 27-year-old Aizada Kanatbekova and the man who is thought to have abducted her along with accomplices in broad daylight in the capital were found in the getaway car on April 7, two days after the kidnapping.
An investigation oversight agency said on its website late on April 8 that the negligence investigation was handed over to the local office of the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (UKMK).
The tragedy sparked protests in several cities and calls for dismissals, including that of Interior Minister Ulan Niyazbekov.
Investigators believe 36-year-old Zamirbek Tengizbaev strangled Kanatbekova with a shirt and then committed suicide by cutting a vein.
They also have said that Tengizbaev had three previous criminal convictions in Russia.
Four people have been detained on suspicion of helping abduct Kanatbekova on the street on April 5, an event that was caught by surveillance cameras that also showed passersby failing to help stop the kidnapping.
Kanatbekova was an only daughter and a graduate of the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University in Bishkek.
Kyrgyzstan sees thousands of bride kidnappings each year despite criminalization of the practice in 2013.
The UN Development Program and rights groups have highlighted the ongoing prevalence in Kyrgyz society of the practice, which they say often leads to marital rape, domestic violence, and other ills.
One of the most notorious cases involved the stabbing death in 2018 of 20-year-old university student Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy by a man who was trying to force her into marriage.