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Kyrgyz Authorities Investigating Why Family Was Forced To Bury Mother Three Times

  • RFE/RL

Kyrgyz authorities have opened a criminal investigation into why a village family was forced to bury their 76-year-old mother three times due to religious restrictions.

The Interior Ministry said on October 27 that desecration of the dead were among the charges investigators were considering.

After Kanygul Satybaldieva died on October 13 in the southern Ala-Buka district, her family initially buried her body in the local cemetery, next to other relatives.

But the imam in the largely Muslim village complained that Satybaldieva was Christian, and demanded that her two daughters convert to Islam. Satybaldieva's husband had remained Muslim.

Village leaders later also demanded that Satybaldieva be exhumed since the cemetery was restricted to Muslims, so her family got permission to rebury her in the district capital in a municipal cemetery.

But that prompted new complaints because Satybaldieva was Baptist, a Christian denomination foreign to most Kyrgyz.

The Central Asian nation is about 75 percent Muslim, with about 20 percent of the population Christian, mainly Russian Orthodox. The Russian church, meanwhile, often takes a dim view of newer Christian denominations, seeing them as competition.

The family ultimately buried her in a secret location six days after her death.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service
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