4 Men Convicted of Bride Kidnapping in Georgia’s Adjara Region

ADJARA REGION, Georgia - A court in Georgia’s Adjara region has convicted four men of bride kidnapping, according to court records.

The four men were found guilty of depriving a person of their civil liberties and also of drug possession, the Batumi City Court said.

Three of the defendants were given seven-year sentences, while a fourth given an eight-year prison term for having been found in possession of narcotics.

According to the court’s records, the four men kidnapped a young woman in the region’s Black Sea resort of Kobuleti in November 2015.

The victim said she was abducted at gunpoint by one of the defendants, but managed to send a message from her mobile phone to her sister, REFE/RL reported.

Bride kidnapping cases continue to plague Georgia’s rural areas. Though exact numbers are hard to come by, non-governmental activists estimate that hundreds of women are kidnapped and forced to marry their abductors each year.

The practice of bride snatching in the Caucasus dates back hundreds of years and remains common in certain communities throughout Georgia and is widespread in the North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.

In Georgia, bride kidnapping usually involves an abductor, often accompanied by friends, who accost a young girl and force her to enter a car. Once in the car, the victim may be taken to a remote area or her captor's home where she’s then forced to marry.

Human Rights Watch has reported that victims often refuse to bring charges against their kidnappers because of social and family pressure.

By Nicholas Waller

22 August 2016 16:13