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One of Turkmenistan’s top showmen and entertainers has been arrested for the crime of being gay

Patrick Kelleher April 19, 2020
Turkmenistan gay actor arrested

Photo by Jenna Jacobs on Unsplash

A well-known actor has been arrested in Turkmenistan for the simple crime of being gay, local media reports claim.

The man, who has not been named, was reportedly arrested last month along with his partner and a dozen other men on suspicion of homosexual activity.

Gay sex is illegal in the central Asian country and anti-LGBT+ views are pervasive, meaning queer people often hide their identities or flee the country.

Some of the men arrested on suspicion of homosexuality were later released after they bribed police, according to Turkmen.news.

A source told Radio Free Europe that the well-known actor had been arrested, but said it had been difficult to get authorities to clarify the matter.

Gay sex is illegal in Turkmenistan, making life difficult for queer men.

Life in Turkmenistan can be extremely difficult for members of the LGBT+ community. Gay and bisexual men can face up to two years in prison for daring to love, and society is largely unaccepting of queer identities.

Reports of the gay actor’s arrest come just days after another gay man detailed his experience of being horrifically beaten by police when they found out he had HIV.

The 23-year-old told Radio Free Europe that he went to Russia to study business management, and while there, he was finally able to embrace his sexuality.

LGBT+ people often face persecution and violence in the central-Asian country.

However, his dreams were crushed when he was diagnosed with HIV and deported back to Turkmenistan under an archaic Russian law that sends HIV-positive foreign nationals back to their home countries.

Back in Turkmenistan, he was forced back into the closet due to the country’s backwards anti-homosexuality laws.

He was arrested when he tried to access HIV treatment and was later beaten by police. He fled his home country and went back to Russia, where LGBT+ organisations were able to help him secure refugee status in a European country.

Furthermore, gay man Kasymberdy Garayev went missing in Turkmenistan last year after claiming in a heartbreaking video that he might be “forcibly taken away”.

 

More: criminalisation of homosexuality, gay sex, Turkmenistan

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