YEKATERINBURG, June 6 (RIA Novosti) – A man has been arrested in Russia's Urals region after he tried to abduct a 17-year-old girl he said he intended to marry, investigators said on Thursday.
The abductor, a 24-year-old Azerbaijani national, was detained along with two accomplices in a car in Nizhny Tagil on Wednesday “just 30 minutes” after the search effort was launched, a regional investigators' spokesman said.
The girl, who was forced into the car, was unhurt in the incident. If convicted, the would-be groom faces up to 12 behind bars for “kidnapping an underage person.” His accomplices, also Azerbaijani nationals, are witnesses in the case.
Bride abductions are an old tradition in the Caucasus, including the Russian republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, as well as in the former Soviet states of Georgia and Armenia. Sociologists have long debated the roots of this tradition, which some claim appeared during Ottoman rule.
There are no hard statistics on how widespread the custom is, but human rights organizations operating in the Caucasus region believe thousands of women are forced to marry against their will every year, despite the illegality of the practice.
Some local people say that in many cases, abductions are a play-acted part of traditional wedding ceremonies.