Accessibility links

Breaking News

Uzbek Nanny Pleads Guilty To Murdering Russian Child

Authorities in Uzbekistan said Gyulchekhra Bobokulova had suffered from mental health problems in the past. (file photo)
Authorities in Uzbekistan said Gyulchekhra Bobokulova had suffered from mental health problems in the past. (file photo)

An Uzbek woman who was filmed waving the severed head of a young girl outside a Moscow metro station in February has pleaded guilty to murder.

The high-profile case has sent shock waves through Russia and led to increased calls by nationalists and others for greater controls on migrants from the ex-Soviet republics of Central Asia.

Gyulchekhra Bobokulova -- an Uzbek citizen who had been hired to care for the four-year-old Russian girl -- went on trial in Moscow on October 24.

Bobokulova, 38, was detained on February 29 in the Russian capital where videos showed her, dressed in black and a hijab, holding up the child's head and shouting "I am a terrorist."

Investigators said she killed and beheaded the child and then set fire to the family's apartment and fled.

In a video of an apparent police interrogation that was posted online in early March, Bobokulova said she acted to avenge Muslims who had been killed by Russian air strikes in Syria.

While being led to a courtroom for an initial appearance on March 2, Bobokulova told reporters that "Allah ordered" her to do it.

Prosecutors told the court in March that they believed there were people still at large who "incited" Bobokulova to commit the crime.

Russian state news agency RIA reported at the time that Bobokulova -- a divorced mother of three -- had been living with a Tajik man who subjected her to "Islamic extremist ideas." But the claims were never verified.

Russian authorities said later that they found no link between Bobokulova and any terrorist organizations.

Interviews in the Russian media with people who claimed to have known Bobokulova in her native Uzbekistan alleged that she was known to be mentally unstable and had been treated for schizophrenia in the past.

The main state-owned and Kremlin-influenced TV channels have avoided extensive coverage of the child's grisly death and Bobokulova's actions, a decision many believe is aimed to avoid fueling nationalist unrest or aggravating tension between Russians and Muslim migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

President Vladimir Putin's government is wary of nationalist violence, as killings of ethnic Russians by representatives of other ethnic groups have triggered unrest among extreme nationalists.

But the incident has led to numerous calls for a clampdown on migrants.

Islamic militants based in Russia's North Caucasus have carried out numerous deadly bombings in Moscow over the past two decades, but there have been no reports of incidents like this one.

The killing occurred amid persistent fears of potential attacks by Islamic State (IS) militants or other extremists in Russia.

The rise of IS has contributed to long-standing tensions between Russians and people from Central Asia and the Caucasus who come to the country in search of work.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.