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Protect Yourself Online

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If someone is committing violence against you or a loved one, he or she may not want you to learn about how to protect yourself and your rights. If this is the case for you, here are five ways to protect yourself while online.

1. Use a safer computer

If possible, try to use a computer that your abuser does not know about or have access to. This could be a private laptop or device that your abuser does not know about. Or it could be a public computer available at your university, an Internet cafe, or community center. You should know that there are programs that allow other people to see every letter that you type or site that you visit without you knowing it. These programs are called “Spyware” and are not easily detected. If your abuser has access to your computer, phone, or other device, he or she may have installed such programs on them. This is why it is so important to try to use a safe device that he or she has not accessed.

2. Use the “hidden” or “secret” setting on your browser

Many web browsers – like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and others – allow you to use a special private setting while online. Choosing this setting means that none of the websites you visit appear in your browsing history and no one can see where you have been online. You can see a detailed description of how to access hidden settings on various browsers here. Note, however, that if your abuser has put Spyware on your computer, he or she may still be able to see what you type and what appears on your screen. It is safest to use a computer that he or she does not have access to and does not know about.

3. Delete specific sites from your browser history

Web browsers keep track of all of the sites that you visit and save them in what is called a “browser history”. After you leave the computer, your abuser can open up the browser history and see all of the sites you visited. To keep this from happening, you can delete your browser history – see instructions for various browsers here. But be careful! Your abuser may be suspicious if you delete the history of every site you visited – he or she will know that you were online but will see that no history comes up in the list. It is better to only delete certain sites – like this one – from your browser history after you are done with your session online.

Note, however, that if your abuser has put Spyware on your computer, he or she may still be able to see what you type and what appears on your screen. It is safest to use a computer that he or she does not have access to and does not know about.

4. Create new email, Facebook, Instagram, and other accounts

Your abuser may know how to access your online accounts such as your email, Facebook, Instagram, and others. He or she may monitor these accounts to know more about you, where you are, and what you’re doing, or he or she may log into these accounts to impersonate you and harm your other relationships. If this is the case, create new accounts that your abuser does not know about. Do this on a safe computer that he or she does not know about. Do not access or log into these new accounts on any device – phone, laptop, tablet, or other – that your abuser knows about or can access. Use an anonymous name when you set up these accounts. Use passwords that your abuser will not be able to know or guess easily and change your passwords frequently, being sure only to use a safe computer when you do so.

Be careful about closing down or no longer using old emails and other accounts that your abuser accesses. If you suddenly stop using your email or Facebook profile or close it down completely, your abuser may be suspicious and wonder why. If you cannot get away from your abuser and know that he or she will be suspicious of a decrease in your online activity, continue to use these nonsecure accounts but only for things that it is not dangerous for your abuser to know about.

5. Purchase your own mobile phone and other devices

If at all possible, purchase your own mobile phone, computer, and other electronic devices. Hardware purchased by your abuser may be infected with Spyware and other programs and settings to help him or her track your online activity. If you cannot afford your own device or worry that switching your current device will make your abuser angry, consider minimizing how much time you spend using your devices and try to leave them behind (especially your mobile phone) when out of the house. Try using a safer computer instead – such as one at an Internet cafe – especially when researching how to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your rights.

These steps can help you protect yourself from cyber-stalking and harassment by an abusive family member. If you or a loved one are being abused by a family member, you have the right to be protected by the police and the courts and to leave a dangerous environment immediately. To discuss developing a safety plan and other legal questions you may have, contact us. If you are in an emergency situation, call the police immediately at 102.

 

Marriage Registration – Why and How

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If you are like thousands of other Kyrgyzstani citizens, you may have married through a religious ceremony such as nikah without registering your marriage with the government (ZAGS). If so, you could be missing out on some important benefits for you and your children. This post goes over why and how to register your marriage.

Why register my marriage?

Registering your marriage with the government has many benefits for you and your children. While it may take some time and paperwork, it will make your life and your children’s lives easier in the future.

Benefits for you from registering your marriage include:

  • You and your spouse will have equal right to common property from the marriage. This means you will have equal rights to use and dispose of all salaries, pensions, property, cars, cattle, land, and other items acquired by you or your spouse during your registered marriage (Family Code Art. 35(2));
    • Even if you do not earn a salary – perhaps because you care for your children – by registering your marriage you make sure that you have the same right to your husband’s or wife’s salary, property, car, and other assets as he or she does (Family Code Art. 35(3));
  • If your spouse sells land, a house, an apartment, or makes another major transaction, he or she must attain your consent. If you do not agree to the sale or purchase, you can go to court to have it voided … meaning that it is as if the sale or purchase never happened (Family Code Art. 36)
  • If you and your spouse divorce, you will be entitled to spousal support (alimony) only if you have a registered marriage. You are not entitled to spousal support from an unregistered marriage, i.e. nikah or another religious ceremony.
  • If you are pregnant or have given birth within the past year, your husband cannot divorce you without your consent (Family Code Art. 18).

Benefits for your children from registering your marriage include:

    • If your marriage is registered, your husband (or wife) is automatically considered to be the father (or mother) of your newborn child (Family Code Art. 51(1)). This means that your child is automatically entitled to protection, financial and emotional support, and an upbringing from both you and your spouse (Family Code Art. 59, 68, 69).
    • If you and your partner divorce, it will be easier for your children to get child support (alimony).
      • Note: Even if you do not register your marriage – i.e. you only have nikah – your mutual children are still entitled to child support from your ex-spouse. However, you will need to prove parentage (usually paternity) in court before your ex-spouse is required to pay child support. This can be a lengthy and difficult process, and can make life difficult for you and your child.

Registering your marriage will give you and your children more financial security and will make it easier for you and your spouse to support one another during your marriage and in the event of divorce.

How do I register my marriage?

 

Fortunately, registering your marriage is easy. To register your marriage with the government, you and your spouse go to your local civil registry (ZAGS) together – click here for a directory of civil registries in the Kyrgyz Republic – and submit an application that includes:

  1. Your full name (Last, First, Patronymic);
  2. Your date and place of birth;
  3. Your age on the date of marriage registration with ZAGS;
  4. Your citizenship and your nationality;
  5. Your place of residence (address);
  6. Your spouse’s full name (Last, First, Patronymic);
  7. Your spouse’s date and place of birth;
  8. Your spouse’s age on the date of marriage registration with ZAGS;
  9. Your spouse’s citizenship and your nationality;
  10. Your spouse’s place of residence (address);
  11. The names that you and your spouse choose after entering into marriage (including, for example, any change to your last names);
  12. Your signature;
  13. Your spouse’s signature.

The ZAGS officials will provide you and your spouse with a form that asks for all of the above information. When you go to ZAGS, be sure to bring:

  1. A valid passport or ID card for yourself;
  2. A valid passport or ID card for your spouse;
  3. If either you or your spouse was previously married, an official document that proves the end of the previous marriage.

If any of the above documents are written in a foreign language (i.e. a language other than Kyrgyz or Russian), you will also need to submit a notarized translation of the document(s) to ZAGS. Additional documents are required for those younger than 18 years of age.

By law, your civil registry is required to register your marriage within 1 month of your application (or give a reason for declining your application within one month). Your official marriage date will be the day that the ZAGS official registers your marriage, and will be shown on your marriage certificate.

By law, it is free to register your marriage with ZAGS. A certificate proving your marriage costs 100 KGS.

For more information, please see: Civil Registry Service of the Kyrgyz Republic: Registering Your Marriage.

Note that you must meet certain requirements before you can register your marriage:

  • Both you and your spouse must be 18 or older (if you or your spouse is younger than 18, you will need to meet additional requirements);
  • Both you and your spouse must fully and freely consent to the marriage;
  • You and your spouse will have to pass a medical exam;
  • Neither you nor your spouse can be married to another person.

We wish you and your family happiness in your marriage!

Have questions? Need legal advice? Are you or your spouse in a situation not covered above? CONTACT US.

What is a protection order … and how do I get one?

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If you or a loved one is suffering from violence, harassment, or threats from another family member, you may want to get a protection order.

A protection order is a document that bans another family member from hurting you or communicating with you in any way, whether by phone, email, face to face, or through another person. You can get it from your local police. Once you have a protection order, the police must make sure that your family member does not continue to hurt you (Law Against Family Violence, Art. 29).

You get a protection order from your local police officer. When you go to the police, they will ask you to write a complaint about the family violence you have suffered (Law Against Family Violence, Art. 26). After they have confirmed the information in your complaint, they will give you a document – the protective order – that requires your family member to follow certain conditions, such as not communicating with you and not committing violence against you.

The police are required to issue your protection order within 24 hours and must enforce it for a minimum of 3 days (Art. 27(1)). The police will also inform the person who has hurt you or your loved one about the protection order, its conditions, and may require them to go through counseling or corrective training.

Once you have received a protection order, the police are required by law to:

  1. Make sure that all of the conditions of the protection order are fulfilled;
  2. Inform local social service agencies that you or a loved one has suffered family violence;
  3. Transport you or your loved one to a medical facility (hospital) or a safe place if you request;
  4. If you ask, extend the length of time that you or your loved is protected by the protection order from a minimum of 3 days to up to 30 days;
  5. If you or your loved one is younger than 18, inform your local child services agencies about the violence. (Art. 25).

If you have a protective order against someone but he or she continues to threaten you or break the conditions of the order, you have the right to go to court. (Law Against Family Violence, Art. 30(1), 32(1), Code of Misdemeanors of the Kyrgyz Republic, Art. 76). The court may require that person to conduct 40 to 60 hours of community service, to pay a fine, to leave your shared home for 1 to 6 months, and limit his or her parental rights, among other possible sentences (Law Against Family Violence, Art. 32(1)).

In summary:

  • A protection order can protect you or a loved one from a violent family member;
  • To get one, go to your local police and request a protection order;
  • The police are required by law to take your complaint seriously, to issue a protection order if family violence is occurring, and to enforce the protection order;
  • If your relative continues to be violent, you can appeal to your local prosecutor, advocate, or court for more help.

Need help or more legal advice? CONTACT US.

Are you worried about going to the police or not sure how to talk with them about the problems you’re facing? We’ll have information available soon on tips to interacting with the police. In the meantime, you can contact us for guidance and advice.

Links to laws referenced in the text: