Police in Kyrgyzstan have extorted, threatened, arbitrarily detained, beaten, and sexually abused gay and bisexual men, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Although consensual sex between men was decriminalized in Kyrgyzstan in 1998, police target gay and bisexual men for violence and extortion, Human Rights Watch found.
The 65-page report, “They Told Us We Deserved This: Police Violence against Gay and Bisexual Men in Kyrgyzstan,” found that gay and bisexual men have been subjected to a range of abuses at the hands of police in Kyrgyzstan, including physical, sexual, and psychological violence; arbitrary detention; and extortion under the threat of violence or of exposing victims’ sexual orientation to friends and family. The report is based on detailed interviews with 40 gay and bisexual men in four regions of Kyrgyzstan. The government should condemn and thoroughly investigate reports of abuse and establish a confidential complaint mechanism for all cases of abuse by police officers.
“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,” said Anna Kirey, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “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.”
Violence, blackmail, and extortion by police, and a lack of accountability for these crimes are all too common in Kyrgyzstan. But those who belong to minority groups are particularly vulnerable. Gay and bisexual men are easy targets for abuse because of the population’s deep social conservatism.
Kyrgyzstan police target gay and bisexual men in parks, gay clubs, hotel rooms, and on dating websites. Human Rights Watch documented cases of severe physical violence against gay and bisexual men including punching, kicking, and beating with gun butts, batons, empty beer bottles, or other objects. Several gay men also reported sexual violence by police officers including rape, group rape, and attempts to put a stick, a hammer, or an electric shock device in the person’s anus, as well as gratuitous touching during a search, or being forced to undress in front of police. Quelle: Human Rights Watch
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