The family of an Uzbek woman who succumbed to severe head injuries allegedly inflicted by her husband is blaming state officials for not allowing the couple to divorce.
Maqsuda Alimardonova, 32, died on July 10 in the hospital one day after suffering the injuries.
Prosecutors have arrested Alimardonova’s spouse, Rustam Jabborov, while launching an investigation into the case.
But Alimardonova’s parents — who live in the southern province of Surkhondaryo — don’t just hold Jabborov responsible for their daughter’s death.
They also accuse local authorities of forcing Alimardonova to stay in the abusive marriage despite numerous complaints by her about domestic violence over the years.
Alimardonova’s mother, Ziyoda Melikulova, says there were nearly 40 incidents of fights and domestic abuse during her daughter’s 10 years of marriage.
“Every time when her husband beat her…representatives of the women’s affairs committee and the neighborhood committee would get involved in their case,” Melikulova told RFE/RL on July 11.
“They would always make the couple reconcile until the marriage ended in tragedy,” she added.
Shuhrat Khurramov, the chief of Alimardonova’s native Botosh neighborhood, confirmed to RFE/RL that authorities had indeed tried to help the couple reconcile after their disputes.
But he claimed such a process happened only once, in November 2018.
“After that the woman never again complained to us about violent outbursts by her husband,” Khurramov said. “I’m their neighbor and I gave her my phone number to call me when any problem arose, but she never approached us again with a complaint.”
Some of Alimardonova’s other neighbors told RFE/RL that Jabborov’s excessive consumption of alcohol played a major role in his abusive behavior.
One neighbor, who requested anonymity, said Jabborov would often inflict physical and psychological abuse on his wife.
“One of the last incidents happened just three days before Maqsuda’s death,” the neighbor said. “He was drunk. He beat up his wife, tried to strangle her, and broke her arm.”
The family said Alimardonova was taken to the hospital unconscious with a fractured skull and several other broken bones on June 9 after her husband allegedly beat her with a bar. She died the next day without regaining consciousness.
A mother of two, Alimardonova worked as a nurse in Surkhondaryo’s Oltinsoy district.
Her family provided several photos of severely bruised legs and arms of a woman lying in a hospital bed which they said are images showing her daughter’s injuries at the hand of her husband.
The local prosecutors’ office told RFE/RL that Alimardonova’s husband has been charged with inflicting intentional grievous bodily harm, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The victim’s family condemn the charge as too lenient and have urged the authorities to charge Jabborov with murder.
Uzbekistan is among some 20 countries — and the only one in Central Asia — that doesn’t have laws which specifically address domestic violence.
Many Uzbeks say police often don’t register complaints filed by women for domestic abuse, while local authorities usually try to reconcile couples experiencing marital problems.
Written by Farangis Najibullah based on reporting by RFE/RL Uzbek Service correspondent Khurmat Babajan