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Witness
Kidnapped Brides
The revival of a tradition with ancient ties that conflicts with modern human rights.
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2009 11:53 GMT

Filmmaker: Anthony Butts

In the central Asian republic of Kyrgystan the practice of bride kidnapping has seen a big revival in recent times. It is a practice with ancient roots, but many people find it repugnant, and are keen to do something about it.

Kidnapped Brides

Part one

 Watch part two 

Marriage is an institution known and understood across every society, although the manner in which marriages are conducted can be extraordinarily diverse.

The concept of a dowry, or "bride price" is also one that turns up in many forms and many places – and in relatively poorer societies, it can often prove to be an insupportable burden for already impoverished peoples.

The central Asian republic of Kyrgystan is one society where the concept of a dowry is known, understood – and feared.

And because securing the necessary dowry is beyond the means of many young men, there has been a revival of an ancient custom – that of "bride kidnapping".

According to this, a man who wants to marry has only to abduct the girl of his choice and after a few simple ceremonies she becomes his lawful wife.

In Kidnapped Brides, filmmaker Anthony Butts travels to Central Asia to investigate this habit from the past. Is this just a revival of a quaint, colourful custom he asks – or a serious abuse of human rights? 

Kidnapped Brides can be seen from Sunday, August 2, 2009 at the following times GMT: 0830, 1900; Monday: 0330, 1400, 2330.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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