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Kyrgyz Lawmakers Reject Decriminalizing Polygamy

A session of the Kyrgyz parliament (file photo) (RFE/RL) March 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's parliament has voted against a measure that would decriminalize polygamy, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Supporters of the measure, including Justice Minister Marat Kayipov, had wanted to remove the article on polygamy from the Criminal Code.

But Kayipov told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service today:

"Deputies of the Kyrgyz parliament have supported [Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev's] policy [regarding polygamy] almost in full," Kayipov told RFE/RL today. "Article153 has been preserved. Those [men] who have two or more families will be brought to justice by the Kyrgyz government just as before."

Today's move means men in Kyrgyzstan can still face up to two years in jail for having more than one wife.

Polygamy is practiced across Central Asia. Attempts to decriminalize it have come before several parliaments in the region, but have always been rejected.

(with material from AKIpress, Interfax)