11/06/2019

Urgent Action: Gay Man Summoned by Police and Disappeared (Turkmenistan: UA 151.19)


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.

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Raşit Meredow, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Archabil av., 108744000 Ashgabat
Turkmenistan
Fax: +993 (12) 44-58-12
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Meret Bayramovich Orazov
Embassy of Turkmenistan
2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 588-1500 | Fax: 202 588-0697
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Minister,

I am deeply concerned about the fate and whereabouts of Kasymberdi Garaev, a 24-year-old doctor, who has not been heard of since 24 October when he went to a police station in the capital Ashgabat following police summons. On 21 October, in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Turkmen Service, Kazymberdi Garaev came out as a gay man, and spoke of his experience of arrest and torture and other ill-treatment by police officers in 2018.

In the absence of any further information about Kazymberdi Garaev’s fate and whereabouts, considering his allegations of arbitrary arrest and torture in 2018, and considering that Turkmenistan treats gay men as criminals, I am concerned about his life. Turkmenistan has obligations under international human rights law not to arbitrarily deprive anyone of their liberty or, under any circumstances, to subject them to torture and other ill-treatment. No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation (real or perceived), and consensual same-sex relationships should not be considered a criminal offense.

I urge you to raise this case with the Prosecutor General and ensure that the fate and whereabouts of Kasymberdi Garaev are urgently disclosed, and that if he is under state custody, he is immediately and unconditionally released and protected from torture and other ill-treatment; any allegations of torture and other ill-treatment are promptly, effectively and thoroughly investigated; all necessary steps are taken to ensure the safety of those who may be at risk in Turkmenistan because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and to condemn in the strongest terms possible any threats made by officials against individuals due to their real or perceived sexual orientation.

Yours sincerely,

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