Kidnapping of 17-year-old girl in Azerbaijan makes social media headlines 5 months later – police and family statements contradict each other
A 17-year-old girl was kidnapped in Azerbaijan five months ago, and her family says they have been unable to speak to her since.
The incident is made more confusing by the fact the police claimed the girl voluntarily left home, while the kidnapped girl’s family claims that she did not intend to get married and was preparing to enter university.
Feminist activists say they will protest if the issue is not resolved, but travel to the regions is impossible due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 17-year-old girl was abducted in the Barda region of Azerbaijan in March. Social media users claim that the kidnapper had married and divorced twice before, and his ex-wife was also kidnapped at the age of 17.
According to the father of the kidnapped girl, he managed to talk to the ex-wife of the kidnapper – she claims that she was put to sleep with the help of drugs. The man is afraid for the fate of his daughter, who was going to become a student next year.
From the statement of the police it follows that this story has been going on for several months.
“On March 29, the girl’s father E.N. appealed to law enforcement agencies with a statement about the abduction of his daughter. An investigation was launched. In the course of the investigation it turned out that the girl voluntarily left with a man named Nurlan, and the reason was her family’s coercion to marry another person”, the police said.
Feminist activists, who have been actively discussing this news in recent days, emphasize that the girl is only 17 years old, and according to the laws of Azerbaijan, she cannot get married without the appropriate permission of the executive bodies. In Azerbaijan, laws allow marriage only from the age of 18.
“The girl’s family at one time rejected the marriage proposal of the boy’s family, arguing that the girl still needs to study. Something is clearly wrong here. The family has been unable to speak to their daughter for five months. There is no news from the girl herself, even if she left voluntarily, she must say it herself,” the well-known Azerbaijani feminist Narmin Shahmarzadeh writes on her Facebook page.
An independent investigation of the case is complicated by the fact that due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Baku to the regions is impossible. Despite this, some feminists threaten to find opportunities to travel to the Barda region and organize a protest there against the violation of women’s rights.
Social media users are actively discussing the news. Some characteristic comments:
“I think we were a little late with the reaction. When everyone was in favor of raising the age of responsibility for sexual intercourse from the current 16 to 18, everyone was silent and argued that in Europe this age is 14”.
“Again, thanks to the father for fighting for his daughter. Many disown their daughters if they are kidnapped.”
“This is a crime, and all those involved, including the police, who are covering the kidnapper, must be punished.”
This project is funded through the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program, U.S. Embassy Tbilisi. The contents of this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of State.