Convicted Kyrgyz woman publicly renounces extremist ideology



Young Kyrgyz women enjoy the summer sun in downtown Bishkek on August 31. According to analysts, unmarried Kyrgyz women often become a target of extremist recruiters online. [Melisovskiy]

BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz woman who was convicted of taking part in armed conflicts abroad and undergoing terrorist training has voluntarily renounced extremist ideology, reported Monday (November 18), citing the Kyrgyz State Security Committee for National Security (GKNB).

Identified only as T.D., the Osh Province native "repented, recognised the fallacy of the ideology, and also urged the country's population to beware of the negative influence of religious extremist organisations and to not get involved in their activities," the GKNB said in a statement.

Women are often the targets of extremist recruiters online, according to Marat Torobekov, a specialist at the Civil Initiative on Internet Policy -- a Bishkek-based non-governmental organisation.

Typically the targets are unmarried women, he said.

"Single women are promised a husband," Torobekov said. "They [recruiters] will write 'hello sister' and then the conversation will begin, and she'll be offered marriage for the sake of Allah."

A continuing threat

Extremism continues to be a threat among youth in Kyrgyzstan, with more than 400 inmates in the country serving sentences for terrorist and extremist crimes.

Kyrgyz security agencies, together with the State Penitentiary Service of Kyrgyzstan, continue to actively de-radicalise members of terrorist and extremist organisations serving sentences in penal institutions, according to the statement.

At the same time, authorities are cracking down on suspicious online outlets as extremist organisations continue use the internet to conduct recruitment.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, access to 64 websites and 233 user accounts and video channels has been banned or restricted this year in Kyrgyzstan.

"Such measures have been taken in regard to resources that disseminate informational materials on the internet that promote terrorist and extremist activities of individual organisations, as well as armed groups aimed at forcibly eliminating secular institutions of state authority," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement on October 23.

According to the statement, "division of society on the basis of religion, ethnicity, race and gender has been increasing online, as well as the recruitment of mercenaries, including the involvement of minors in illegal activities."

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