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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 11 Gay man summoned by police and disappeared
UA 151/19
Abgeschlossen am 11. November 2019
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07.11.2019: Important update

Further to the message below, we would like to share that additional information has surfaced that makes us think the best way forward at the moment is to continue promoting the original Urgent Action.

We have not been able to fully confirm the reports that he was released, and in full knowledge of the context in Turkmenistan, there is a high risk that the authorities want the attention to dissipate and that they are trying to make us believe he was released while he is still under severe control and pressure. As you surely know, Turkmenistan remains a very closed country and we have to be extremely cautious.

Therefore, please do continue campaigning on the basis of the initial UA below.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.


07.11.2019 News

We have just learned that Kasymberdi Garaev has been released and that he is now home.

While this is great news, we believe he is still at risk and so are others that might be targeted by the authorities for their real or perceived sexual orientation. We are also convinced that this positive development is a result of the publicity given to this case and that it’s important to maintain it.

Therefore we plan to issue an update to this Urgent Action as soon as possible.

Thanks for your support and patience.

Gay man summoned by police and disappeared

AI-Index: EUR 61/1363/2019

Kasymberdi Garaev, a 24-year-old doctor, came out as gay in an online article published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Turkmen Service on 21 October. He spoke of his despair as same sex relations between men are a crime in Turkmenistan. He was summoned to a police station on 24 October and has not been heard of since. Meanwhile, the authorities have started a campaign to identify supposed LGBTI people.


People in Turkmenistan live in an environment in which human rights violations are severe and routine. The right to freedom of expression is harshly restricted and all media are controlled by the state. Torture and other ill-treatment is believed to be widespread, and prisoners are held in conditions amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment, and in some cases subjected to enforced disappearances. Deaths in custody are commonplace and not subject to investigation.

Consensual same-sex relations between men are a criminal offence in Turkmenistan punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment. Widespread societal homophobia and transphobia means that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons are at high risk of torture or other ill-treatment, including sexual violence, and extortion at the hands of the police. They also come under severe pressure from their families who seek to protect the «family honour» by imposing forced marriages.

Since Kasymberdi Garaev’s story was made public the Turkmen authorities have started to try to identify LGBTI people working in public institutions. There are reports that health officials have been ordered to identify LGBTI people by testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

In his interview, Kasymberdi Garaev revealed that in 2018 he was detained by police officers after he started corresponding with a man on the internet who turned out to be a police informer. While in police custody, he was tortured with an electric baton. He was released from custody after the intervention of a relative. Since his release, his family had attempted to force him into marriage to conceal his sexual orientation.

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