Accessibility links

Breaking News


Authorties in Kyrgyzstan have arrested 11 people on suspicion of bride-snatching, an offense that was rarely prosecuted in the past.

Bishkek city police said on November 20 that six men were arrested on the basis of a complaint by a 40-year-old woman in the capital who accused them of abducting her sister for a forced marriage.

Also on November 20, officials in the northern city of Tokmok said that five local residents had been arrested for allegedly abducting an 18-year-old woman for a forced marriage.

Rights activists say about 12,000 Kyrgyz women and girls are kidnapped and forced into marriage every year.

In 2012, the government launched a campaign against the traditional practice and increased the potential punishment to 10 years in prison.

Some 20 probes into cases related to bride-snatching were launched in Kyrgyzstan last year.

A Belarusian activist has been charged with distribution of pornography via the Internet in what colleagues said was a politically motivated case.

Minsk-based human rights center Vyasna (Spring) said on November 18 that a member of the opposition Malady Front (Youth Front) movement, Andrey Tychyna, was charged after investigators said that a video clip that was based on a popular rock group's song and placed on Tychyna's social-network account "carried elements of pornography."

Tychyna's colleague, Alyaksey Valabuyeu, told RFE/RL that the charge was politically motivated.

He said police were looking for ways to target Tychyna after a search of his apartment in the central city of Salihorsk in September.

Before the search, police summoned Tychyna and questioned him about the appearance in downtown Salihorsk of a 15-meter-long historic national flag.

The white-red-white flag is banned in Belarus, whose longtime president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, displays nostalgia for the Soviet Union.

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More