Couple In Uzbekistan Arrested And Tortured For Having Gay Sex In Their Apartment

Both men are facing up to three years in prison.

A gay couple in Uzbekistan have been arrested and tortured by police, who charged them with engaging in illegal sexual relations.

Male homosexuality is punishable by up to three years in prison in the majority-Muslim country, but the law is rarely enforced.

The couple, both in their twenties, live together in Tashkent and reportedly met in September. It’s unknown how police found out about their relationship, but authorities told reporters they’d conducted anal exams on both men which “proved” they had “repeated sexual intercourse.”

While prosecution for homosexuality is rare in the Uzbekistan, public shaming and violence against LGBT people is common and often sanctioned by authorities.

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

In 2016, late President Islam Karimov condemned same-sex relationships as a “vile phenomenon of Western culture.”

“If a man lives with a man, or a woman with a women, I think that something there isn’t quite right,” he added, “or some change has happened.”

In September, a group of young Uzbeks in Fargona posted a video of them stripping, beating and torturing a gay student. The government has launched a campaign aimed at discouraging people from from posting videos of their attacks: “[Do] not to take the garbage out of the house for the outside world to see.”

Human rights advocates have long urged the Uzbek government to repeal Article 120 of the criminal code, which criminalizes sexual relations between men, and are now speaking out against the arrest and torture of the gay couple.

“It is unacceptable to persecute people for the fact that they consensually engage in same-sex relations,” Nadezhda Atayeva, president of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, told EurasiaNet. “This incident is nothing but a demonstrative act of discrimination toward the LGBT community and reflects the policies of the current regime.”

I believe that true, well-told stories have the power to change the world for good. I also love a good listicle.
@KristinaSaurusR