A report by a leading human rights group has claimed that gay and bisexual men in Kyrgyzstan face extortion, beatings, illegal detentions and even rape from the police force.
Although sex between men was decriminalised in the state in 1998, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released today found that gay men face regular oppression and abuse from the police.
The report is based on detailed interviews with gay and bisexual men across Kyrgyzstan, and alleges that police specifically target gay men in parks, gay clubs, hotel rooms, and on dating websites.
Fathullo F, a 32-year-old man, told HRW that in May 2012 he was invited on a date by what he thought was another gay man, but when he arrived police handcuffed him and took him to the police station. They beat him, forced him to write a confession, and to give them contact information for his family and employer.
They proceeded to extort money from him, and contact information for other gay men.
He said: I asked them to let me sit down because I was tired. They said that I didn’t deserve to use their chair and spat on me. They said that I didn’t deserve to live, and threatened to destroy me if I didn’t give them 10,000 soms (£120)”
Another man, Demetra D from Bishkek, spoke of how he was abused by police on four occasions between 2004 and 2011, when police raped him, attempted to rape him, or allowed other detainees to rape him.
He said: “They took their batons, beat us, and then told us that they would fuck us with the batons. They didn’t want to listen to our pleas. They said that we are f*gs and deserve this, and that we don’t deserve to be on earth. After they raped us, they left us there. We had to walk back.”
Human Rights Watch want the Kyrgyz government to step in to stop the abuses.
Anna Kirey, LGBT rights researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: “Gay and bisexual men in Kyrgyzstan already live in fear due to widespread homophobic attitudes, and the police are making a nightmarish situation even worse. Kyrgyzstan authorities at the very top levels need to call a halt to this police abuse and make sure that gay and bisexual men have the protection they need.”