January 29, 2014

II. Police Violence, Threats, and Extortion

Most of the 40 gay or bisexual men Human Rights Watch interviewed for this report in four different cities in Kyrgyzstan reported physical abuse, threats, or extortion, or a combination of these abuses during one or multiple encounters with the police or other law enforcement agents from 2004 to 2013. Two of those who reported abuse were 17 years old at the time of the abuse. Many of those interviewed also reported physical violence while in police detention, including being punched, kicked, beaten with a gun butt, or other objects. Six of the interviewees, including one of the 17-year-old boys, reported being raped with an object or being forced by officers or other detainees to perform sexual acts. In some cases this treatment rose to the level of torture.

Most of the interviewees also reported threats of death or physical violence, including threats of death, rape, arrest, or disclosure of sexual orientation. All of the gay and bisexual men interviewed by Human Rights Watch who had been detained by police also stated that police officers humiliated them, verbally assaulted them, and used offensive language related to their sexual orientation, ethnicity, or both.  

Most of the gay and bisexual men interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that the police threatened to disclose their sexual orientation to their family members, employers, university administration or others. Disclosing someone’s sexual orientation may have serious and lasting consequences including violence, loss of employment, and social and family ostracism.

Many interviewees reported having to give the police money ranging fromUS$12 to $1,000 to avoid further physical violence, being detained in the first place, or to ensure that police would not disclose their sexual orientation to family members or others.

Many of the men interviewed by Human Rights Watch who had been detained by police reported that they were arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.  In the cases documented by Human Rights Watch, police often detained the men arbitrarily and subjected them to a number of serious violations of their basic and due process rights guaranteed under national and international law.

Under Kyrgyzstan law, whenever the police bring a person into custody, the time and the name of the individual must be recorded in a protocol of administrative detention.[33] All of the men interviewed by Human Rights Watch and held in police stations said that their detentions were not registered upon entry to the stations. According to the UN special rapporteur on torture’s 2012 report on Kyrgyzstan, the police often do not register the persons brought into custody, despite the legal requirement.[34] 

Administrative detentions should not last longer than three hours. After three hours, police are required to draw up a protocol of administrative violation or release the person.[35] Most men interviewed by Human Rights Watch who were detained at a police station were kept there beyond the three-hour time limit, but the police failed to properly register their detentions with a written protocol. Most of the gay and bisexual men interviewed by Human Rights Watch who had been detained by the police reported that they experienced ill-treatment during the first hours of their detention. The UN special rapporteur on torture’s 2012 report on Kyrgyzstan also noted, based on numerous testimonies, that torture and ill-treatment are often committed during the first hours of informal interrogation.[36]

There is a climate of impunity for these types of crimes committed against gay and bisexual men and boys, as detailed below. Many gay and bisexual men, including human rights defenders, told Human Rights Watch that they feel unable to file complaints and access existing systems of redress in Kyrgyzstan for fear of negative repercussions and because they lack confidence in the authorities’ willingness to pursue their complaints.

In only two cases, people interviewed by Human Rights Watch filed complaints with the authorities about police abuse. In one case, the prosecutor’s office declined to open a criminal investigation; in the other, the victim received no response whatsoever to his complaint. 

Some of the interviewees who are ethnic Uzbek told Human Rights Watch that the police made specific references both to their ethnicity as well as their sexual orientation when ill-treating them or attempting extort money from them. In some instances in which police approached groups of men they suspected were gay, they only detained ethnic Uzbeks. Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of cases of arbitrary detentions and ill-treatment of ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, in the wake of the 2010 interethnic violence in that region.[37] 

Physical Abuse, Ill-Treatment and Torture

Many of the gay and bisexual men interviewed by Human Rights Watch experienced a range of physical violence at the hands of police, including punches to the face and other parts of the body, kicking, pulling hair, and punches to the head with a gun handle.  Several of these cases are described in this section. Two of these interviewees were 17 years old at the time of the abuse. Police also raped or committed other acts of sexual violence against six of these people, including one of the 17-year-old boys. Police also threatened all of these men and boys with further violence, including in some cases with death or rape. In some instances, police extorted money from them under threat of additional violence or disclosure of the men’s sexual orientation to their families or employers. In some cases, the treatment rose to a level of severity to constitute torture, which is prohibited under both Kyrgyzstan and international law.

Kyrgyzstan’s criminal code defines torture as:

Deliberately inflicting physical or mental suffering against any person for the purpose of obtaining information or confession from him/her or another person; punishing a person for an act which a person has committed or is suspected of committing; or for the purpose of intimidating and compelling him/her to commit certain actions; or for any other reason based on discrimination of any kind, when these acts are committed by a public official or based on his/her encouragement or with the knowledge or silent consent of a public official.[38]

Torture is punishable by up to eight years in prison. The criminal code also prohibits public officials from committing acts of violence, including by “clearly exceeding his/her limits of authority and resulting in violation of rights and lawful interests of citizens,” which, if the acts involve violence, are also punishable by up to eight years in prison.[39]

Fathullo F.

Police in different districts in a town in southern Kyrgyzstan detained, beat, and threatened with death 32-year-old Fathullo F. in three incidents in 2012 and 2013.  Each time police detained and beat Fathullo F., they forced him to hand over large sums of money under threat of disclosing his sexual orientation to his family.

In one incident in May 2012, Fathullo F. received a phone call from a friend who said he had arranged a date for him with another man near a local hotel.[40]  Fathullo F. described how soon after he arrived at the designated meeting location, police officers, who were apparently waiting for him, grabbed him and said to him, “Let’s go, you wasted fag,” and handcuffed him.  According to Fathullo F., “I felt so ashamed. [This happened] in front of so many people and in my district.”[41]

Fathullo F. described how police treated him after taking him to a nearby station: 

I didn’t want to write an explanation note [in Russian, obyasnitelnaya], but they punched me in the face and in my ear, and I had to write. They dictated what I had to write. I had to write my name, that I am married, my address and that I wanted to meet a man and “give in” to him [have passive anal sex with him] and suck his penis.[42]

The police also forced Fathullo F. to give them contact information for his workplace and his family’s home and work addresses.[43]

The officers also threatened to initiate a criminal “sodomy” [In Russian, muzhelozhstvo] case against Fathullo F. unless he gave them money and contact information for other gay men. Kyrgyzstan law does not criminalize consensual sex between men, but some police officers, exploiting the likely possibility that men, particularly in southern Kyrgyzstan, do not know the law in full, use the threat of charges under such a law in order to pressure gay men to give them money or to provide contact information for other gay men.

According to Fathullo F.:

The police told me that they would let me out quietly to “swim as a fish” if I provided them with someone else they could demand money from. I didn’t give them any numbers because I did not want to betray others. They hit me in the mouth when I refused to talk. I was there for hours.
The officers told me that people like me do not deserve to be on face of the earth. I asked them to let me sit down because I was tired. They said that I didn’t deserve to use their chair and spat on me. They said that I didn’t deserve to live, and threatened to destroy me if I didn’t give them 10,000 soms [US$214]. I told them I only had 5,000 soms [$107].[44]

Police eventually brought Fathullo F. to his neighborhood and allowed him to go into his house to get his savings, which he gave to the police. They told Fathullo F. to forget about the incident and threatened to cut off his tongue if he told anyone about it.[45] 

This case shattered the small community of gay men in the town where Fathullo F. lives. Fathullo F. and several others told Human Rights Watch that they all changed their cell phone numbers and did not meet each other for months out of fear of being targeted by the police. At the time of the interview with Human Rights Watch, which took place more than three months after the incident, Fathullo F. stated that his ear still hurt from where police officers had punched him.[46]

In a separate incident in February 2013, three police officers detained Fathullo F. as he traveled to work on a public minibus, and again beat, threatened and extorted money from him. He described the experience to Human Rights Watch:

Everyone in the minivan was watching. They [the police] were rude to me and told me to get out. The police didn’t explain anything. They pushed me into their car. One of them hit me in the chest with his elbow.  A man sitting in front of the car accused me of raping him many times. I had never met this man and told the police this. They said that they will call a witness [who could confirm the allegations], and then [one of them] hit me with his elbow again. “Why don’t you admit that you did it,” they asked.[47]

Fathullo F. told Human Rights Watch that the police took his mobile phone and a copy of his passport. When Fathullo F. asked for his phone in order to call his friends to let them know he was being held by the police, one of the officers punched him twice. Police officers demanded $ 1,000 and threatened to disclose Fathullo F.’s sexual orientation to his family.  As Fathullo F. described:

I told them I only had 5,000 soms [$ 100]. The police officers said that it wasn’t enough and that it’s easier for them to put me in jail than take so little. They said that in jail everyone would know about my sexual orientation and I wouldn’t survive for even a week. Then they forced me to open my bag, took 7,000 soms [$145], threw the bag and my cell phone on the ground and let me go. They said, “If you open your mouth, we have a copy of your passport and next time this will get worse.”[48]

Fathullo did not report this incident because he was worried that the police would disclose his sexual orientation to his family.

Mansur M.

Police detained, beat, and extorted money from 45-year-old Mansur M. in October 2012 in a town in southern Kyrgyzstan after an acquaintance apparently revealed Mansur M.’s sexual orientation to the police. Mansur M. told Human Rights Watch that he had invited this acquaintance to a birthday party, and while he was out of the room, the acquaintance took his cell phone and left.  When Mansur M. arrived at a pre-arranged location to meet the friend to get his phone back, four police officers in unidentified civilian clothes, all of whom were apparently waiting for Mansur M., forced him into a car, and drove him to a police station. Mansur M. described his treatment there:

When we came to the police station … they started calling me a Sart [a derogatory term in Kyrgyz for an ethnic Uzbek] and faggot.  A tall police officer pressed hard on my shoulder. I lost consciousness. [When I awoke,] I was on the floor and they were kicking me.
They told me that they will prosecute me for sodomy. They told me to bring $200 the next day or they would tell [everyone in] my neighborhood [about my sexual orientation].
An [ethnic] Uzbek officer helped me get out. He took me to his office and let me go, but took 120 soms [$3]. As I was leaving the office, an [ethnic] Kyrgyz officer grabbed me by the hair and slammed my head against the wall. He said “Not only you are a fag, but you also came to see another Sart.”[49]

Mansur M. told Human Rights Watch that he was scared that the police would find him and cause him further harm. He changed his phone number and now avoids going to the district where he was detained.  Mansur M. went to a public health clinic the next day but saw police entering at the same time and ran away. A friend of Mansur M.’s who works for an NGO offered to help him file a complaint, but Mansur M. declined, worried that his family would find out about his sexual orientation.[50]

At the time of the interview with Human Rights Watch, a few days after this incident, Mansur M. reported continuing pain in his chest. He was agitated and worried that someone may overhear the interview, and he walked in and out of the interview location to check whether anyone was watching or listening.

Isroil I.

Isroil I., a gay man in his 20s, told Human Rights Watch that police in a town in Southern Kyrgyzstan detained, beat, threatened, and extorted money from him in two separate incidents in recent years.

In late summer 2010, two plain-clothed police officers detained him and two of his gay acquaintances in a park after two other gay men, who were with the police officers, pointed at Isroil I. and identified him as being gay. Police promptly took all five men to the station.

Isroil I. told Human Rights Watch that the police beat him in order to force him to admit to having had sex with the two men who reported him. Isroil I. initially wrote that he did not know these men, but after more beatings he wrote what the officers dictated, including that he was gay and that he had sex with one of the two men.  The police then used this statement to extort money from him, threatening to tell his family about his sexual orientation, something that he particularly feared. He told Human Rights Watch:

It was the worst thing for me when they threatened to tell my family. I have brothers who are very religious. One word and this would be death [for me]. I wrote what the police told me to write. I was scared that they would tell my family. I wrote my name and address. I didn’t know what to do. They let me go after I said that I could give them 3,000 soms [$60]. They threatened me and then let me go [get the money]. I had to lie to my mom to get this money. I went back to the station and gave the money to the police. I asked for my statement, and they handed it to me and insisted I tear it up in their presence.[51]

In a separate incident in January 2013, two uniformed police officers stopped Isroil I. and three friends as they walked out of a café one evening in a town in southern Kyrgyzstan.  After asking for the men’s IDs, the police let two of the men go, one apparently because of his Kyrgyz ethnicity, the other because he was elderly. The police drove Isroil I. and Aziz A., one of the other men, both ethnic Uzbeks, to the police station. Isroil I. asked why he and Aziz A. were being taken to the police station. One of the officers replied that it was because it was late and they had been drinking.

In the car, the police officers started calling Aziz A. gay. When Isroil I. had his fingerprints taken at the police station, the officer also asked about his sexual orientation and kicked him in the buttocks. The police officer then said that Aziz A. (detained with Isroil I.) was Isroil I.’s boyfriend and that “he pays you to sleep with him.”[52] One police officer also indicated to Isroil I. that he himself wanted to have sex with Aziz A., but Isroil I. insisted that his friend was not gay.

Police eventually allowed Isroil I. to call his brother, who brought 1,900 soms ($40), which Isroil I. paid to secure their release. Isroil I. did not complain about his treatment due to fear of retaliation.

Isroil said that Aziz A. was beaten by other detainees while they were at the police station, apparently because Aziz A. was gay. Isroil I. described Aziz’s condition to Human Rights Watch: “When we were released, his face was covered in blood. He had a bloody nose and his lips were swollen.”[53]

Mikhail Kudryashov

In 2010, a man contacted Mikhail Kudryashov two times, then 22, in response to Kudryashov’s online advertisement about films with gay themes.[54] During the second meeting, on October 30, as the man paid  Kudryashov for DVDs, seven financial police officers, who had been recording the exchange on a video camera, appeared and started to threaten Kudryashov. One of the officers pressured Kudryashov to sign a confession that he was distributing pornography. If he did not, the officer said, “We will do anything we want. Not even a wet spot will remain of you, and you won’t want to live afterwards.” [55]

Next, the officers pushed Kudryashov into their car and drove him to the financial police office where they beat him severely and threatened him repeatedly with rape. Kudryashov described the several hours of ill-treatment to Human Rights Watch:

They told me to raise my hands. … I raised my hands and one of the police officers hit me in the chest. I fell down from the pain. He yelled, “Get the fuck up!” and kicked me in the head.  I lost consciousness. I don’t know how they woke me up. I was covered in saliva and really wanted to throw up. They picked me up from the floor and told me to undress. I didn’t undress and then they hit me in my stomach. I took my clothes off.
One of them had a glass beer bottle in his hand.  He said, “Okay, come on, bend over, we will push this inside you. Since you don’t want straight dicks, then we will use a bottle.”  One of them took his phone out and started recording this on his phone camera. “You bitch, look at the camera,” he said. They took the bottle and started hitting me on my back, chest and legs. One of them held my hands so that I could not protect myself.[56]

Mikhail told Human Rights Watch that the officers used a coat hanger and beer bottles to beat Kudryashov for several more hours and also threatened to rape him with the hanger. Kudryashov told Human Rights Watch:

One of them took the hanger and yelled, “Here, choose which part of this we will use to fuck you.” He hit me with it couple of times. Then he would wave it at me to scare me. I begged them to stop. My tears were falling like hail, but they kept yelling at me. They yelled, Hey, are you a fag or what? A fag, right? You fuck in your ass, right? Do you want us to fuck you? Do you even know in which country you live? We can’t stand fags here, you know dick-sucker!” This continued for four hours.[57]

Police officers put handcuffs on Kudryashov and took him to his apartment. There they took all of Kudryashov’s documents, his computer and valuables, he said.[58]  None of these valuables were returned to Kudryashov.

Kudryashov’s friend Edik E., a 24-year-old shop assistant, happened to have come to check on Mikhail’s apartment when the police arrived. Police also detained him and took him to a building used by the financial police.[59] Edik E. told Human Rights Watch: “They [the police] started asking us who is active and who is passive. They asked, “Are you together, faggots? Do you two live and sleep together? Who plays which role?”[60] 

Both Edik E. and Kudryashov told Human Rights Watch that police officers beat them up and released them in the middle of the night only after they wrote complaints about and disclosed contact information for three other gay men.[61]

The next day, the police visited the three gay men: Maksim Bratukhin, his boyfriend, and LGBT activist Nikolai Rudin, accusing them of “homosexuality” and being connected to dissemination of pornography. Beyond these threats, police took no actions against them.[62] 

Three days after his release, on November 2, Kudryashov went to a private medical clinic where a doctor prescribed treatment for Kudryashov’s multiple symptoms, including: headaches, insomnia, panic attacks, trembling, muscle spasms, loss of appetite, and depression. On November 3 he visited the state forensic medical examiner (in Russian, sudmedekspertiza) who concluded that his injuries included bruises that could have been caused by “a blunt, hard object” but described them as “minor” and said that they “[would] not affect his health for more than seven days.”[63] The medical examiner referred Kudryashov to a neurologist who confirmed that he had suffered a concussion. On November 3 and 4 Kudryashov visited two other health clinics where doctors similarly diagnosed him with a concussion; one doctor also documented significant bruising on his upper and lower back and elbow.[64]

On November 4, 2010, Kudryashov filed a complaint against the financial police officers who ill-treated him. In response, the Bishkek city prosecutor’s office conducted an internal inquiry about the alleged conduct, but on November 30, 2010, it stated its refusal to open a criminal investigation.[65] Kudryashov appealed the refusal to open a criminal investigation to the general prosecutor’s office and through the courts, but his appeal was unsuccessful.[66] In his appeal, Kudryashov noted that among other procedural issues related to his detention, the neurologist’s diagnosis of a concussion was not included in the original forensic medical report written following his visit to the medical examiner on November 3, as the neurologist’s diagnosis was report was not provided to the medical examiner until November 26. In addition, in its decisions regarding the opening of a criminal case, the prosecutor’s office failed to consider any of the medical evidence confirming that Kudryashov had suffered a concussion. The prosecutor’s office also did not order any additional medical examinations for Kudryashov.[67]

Kudryashov has appealed to the UN Human Rights Committee.[68] The committee included his case in the List of Issues for its review of Kyrgyzstan in March 2014.[69]

Although the authorities did not investigate the abuse against Kudryashov, they continued to pursue the case against him. On March 4, 2011, the Oktyabrskiy District Court in Bishkek found Kudryashov guilty of “distribution of pornography” and gave him a 1.5-year suspended sentence.[70] In July 2011, the Bishkek City Court rejected Kudryashov’s appeal.

According to Kudryashov, during the court proceedings, different judges and prosecutors repeatedly asked Kudryashov questions about his sexual orientation and told him that he didn’t deserve to live in Kyrgyzstan as a gay man.[71] 

Financial police threatened one witness for the defense, Maksim Bratukhin, head of the LGBT NGO Pathfinder, as he was waiting to enter the courtroom, telling him he would “lose his tongue” for making the case public and that the police should have “already eliminated people like you.”[72]

Edik E.

Two years after his detention and beating together with Mikhail Kudryashov, as described above, Edik E. told Human Rights Watch that he was again detained by Bishkek police. Police officials had kept Edik E.’s passport from the time of his 2010 detention; Edik E. had been too afraid to retrieve it. In May 2012 Bishkek police detained him on the pretext that he was running a company that illegally gained access to computers and computer networks. Edik E. recounted his detention to Human Rights Watch: 

I walked out of my house and was shocked when two men got out of a car, grabbed me, and started pushing me into the car. I started screaming. All of my neighbors ran to me. They [the police] said, “You are a hacker. This is the end of you! We will lock you up for life, you won’t have a life.” I kept screaming.
In the car they said, “Finally we got you, faggot!” I asked them why they thought that I was a faggot. They said, “We can see that you sleep with men, your asshole is big.” They said, “We know that you stole $10,000 from Olga. She will come and identify you. We will start a criminal case against you. You will confess and nobody will help.”[73]

Police officers brought Edik E. to the police station and tried to force him to confess to stealing the money. They also tried to pressure him by claiming that they had information about his involvement in computer hacking, including by showing him a company’s website that had his name and passport information. Edik E. told Human Rights Watch:

They knew that I worked in a pet store and asked whether I fuck rats. “Maybe you are a zoophile and also fuck men. We will take you to a medical clinic and measure your asshole to see how many men you slept with,” they said.  They kept on humiliating me, but I wrote an explanation note that I don’t know Olga and didn’t steal anything. 
They beat me and made me write again but I didn’t. They invited me to eat with them … but then again would say, “You, stinky fag, we will fuck you in a circle. We will torture you and put a bottle you know where.”
Sometimes they would ask, “Do you like me? Let me fuck you now!” They were six or seven officers, and they all laughed at me. One of them threw his bag at me. Another one hit me in the head with a book. There were two police officers doing this and two [police] students observing them.[74]

Edik E. told Human Rights Watch that police also threatened to disclose his sexual orientation to others, saying, “We will tell your parents.… We will spoil your life if you don’t cooperate with us. We will tell [people] at your [academic] institute and everywhere. You will need to end your own life if you don’t cooperate with us.[75]

Edik E. told Human Rights Watch that the police never told him their names as they are required to do by law or filled out any forms concerning his detention. When Edik E. asked the police to identify themselves, they threatened to beat him “if he did not shut up.”[76]

Police released Edik E. after he told the police that he had since gotten a new passport and the passport information on the website they showed him was out of date, and therefore the police could not link him to this illegal company. Edik E. told Human Rights Watch that he sought legal advice from an NGO after this situation. The NGO’s lawyers told Edik E. that they could take this case but could not guarantee his safety, so he declined to pursue a complaint.[77]

Sebastian S.

In 2011 Bishkek police detained Sebastian S., a gay man in his 20s, on suspicion of theft.[78] During a search of his bag, police officers found a love letter and identified its author as another man. After finding the letter, the police began to beat Sebastian S. and tried to steal his jewelry, making specific reference to his sexual orientation, and then detained him. He described his ill-treatment during detention to Human Rights Watch: 

First they asked, “Are you really gay [in Russian, goluboi]? Then they demanded that I give them my ring. I refused, and they punched me in the chest and under the ribs at least 15 times. There were four of them: two were hitting me and two were watching. Then they detained me and didn’t give me any food for two days, until my parents came.  I would tell them that I was hungry and they just ignored me. [79]

The theft charges against Sebastian S. were dropped after his parents paid a bribe.

Sebastian’s boyfriend, Zhenya Zh., told Human Rights Watch that following this incident, Sebastian was traumatized. According to Zhenya Zh., Sebastian S. wanted to “quit his [gay] lifestyle” and would “walk a couple of meters behind us [his gay friends], especially when we walk with an effeminate man, in order not to be associated with us.”[80]

Maksim Bratukhin

Maksim Bratukhin, head of the Bishkek-based LGBT rights group Pathfinder, told Human Rights Watch that several police officers detained, beat, and threatened him with death after he left a gay nightclub in Bishkek in April 2008. Bratukhin told Human Rights Watch:

The police said, “Are you a faggot? Why do you come here?” Then they pointed a gun at me and showed their IDs. One of them hit me in the temple and I fell on their car. They threw me in the car and drove around for some time. They said they would drown me in a canal if I didn’t give them $600. In the car they hit me in the head with the handle of the gun. Then took me to the police station, kicked me some more, and said that they would call my mom and tell her about the kinds of clubs I visit.[81]

Bratukhin was able to avoid being a victim of extortion by asking the police to take him to his workplace so he could get the money. Once there, Bratukhin told a colleague that the police had illegally detained him and demanded money from him. The police officers became angry, punched Bratukhin a few more times, and then left.[82] Bratukhin did not bring a complaint against the police because he thought it would take too long to process and would not bring any results.

Rape, Sexual Violence, and Threats of Rape

Several of the gay and bisexual men interviewed by Human Rights Watch, including one who was a 17 years old at the time of his abuse, said they experienced sexual violence from the police, including rape, group rape, attempts by police to insert a stick, hammer, or electric shock weapon inside the victims’ anus, unwanted touching during a search, or being forced to undress in front of police.[83] In two cases documented by Human Rights Watch, police officers are alleged to have disclosed a detainee’s sexual orientation to other detainees, who then beat or raped the victim.[84]  Several more of the gay and bisexual men Human Rights Watch interviewed, one of whom was 17 years old at the time of abuse, said that police had threatened to rape them, including by means of group rape or rape with a hanger or bottle. LGBT activists interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that sexual assault by the police is one of their biggest fears, both for themselves and for other gay men in the community.[85]

Under article 129 of the Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan, “rape” can only be a crime in instances where the victim is female.[86] Article 130 of the code criminalizes other forced sexual conduct, including, “muzhelozhstvo (sex between men), lesbianism or other acts of a sexual nature with the use of violence or the threat of its use against a male (or female) victim” with sentences of up to eight years in prison.[87]

Rape, sexual violence, and threats of rape are violations of international law, including the prohibition against torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).[88]  The World Health Organization defines sexual violence as “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic a person’s sexuality, using coercion, threats of harm or physical force, by any person regardless of relationship to the victim, in any setting….”[89]

Sexual violence against men and boys is a highly sensitive issue for many people in Kyrgyzstan. The predominant societal beliefs about men who have been raped have their origins in Kyrgyz, and before that, Soviet, prison culture, where gay men or men who are raped by other men are classified by other inmates as opushchennie (“humiliated” or “put down”). These men are considered outcasts and are socially isolated from other male prisoners.[90] Other inmates refuse to shake hands with opushchennie or let them eat at the same table; often, opushchennie are forced to live in barracks separate from other prisoners.[91] 

This strong cultural stigma contributes to difficulties in investigating sexual assault against gay and bisexual men in Kyrgyzstan today. Allegations by detainees of rape or sexual violence by the police are not taken seriously because it is taboo to even suggest that a police officer would have any kind of sexual contact with another man. In an interview with Human Rights Watch, a Ministry of Internal Affairs official stated, “In the criminal world there are rules about not shaking hands with men who were ‘put down.’ Police officers maintain [those rules], too.”[92] 

Rape and Attempted Rape

Demetra D.

Demetra D., 32, from Bishkek, told Human Rights Watch that in four different incidents between 2004 and 2011, police officers raped him, attempted to rape him, and allowed other detainees to rape him while in police custody.[93] In 2004, men who later identified themselves as police officers grabbed Demetra D. and his friend as they left a gay club, forced them into an unmarked car, drove them to the city outskirts, and beat and raped them.[94] Demetra D. described the rape to Human Rights Watch:

We didn’t know our rights. We were really scared. They took their batons, beat us, and then told us that they would fuck us with the batons. They didn’t want to listen to our pleas. They said that we are fags and deserve this, and that we don’t deserve to be on earth. After they raped us, they left us there. We had to walk back [to Bishkek].[95]

In 2009 as Demetra D. exited a Bishkek gay club with another gay man, both dressed in women’s clothing, police officers forced them into a police car and took them to a district police station where Demetra D. was raped by other detainees. Demetra D. recounted:

The officers showed their police IDs. They told us that we are in a Muslim country and it is not okay to wear women’s clothes. When we arrived [at the station] they put us in the same cell with straight inmates and said, “Here! We got them for you! Enjoy yourselves!” I was forced to have sex with two inmates. When you are in this kind of situation, you can’t just refuse or talk about your rights. You just want to get out of there alive.[96]

Following this rape, Demetra D. told a police investigator at the same station what happened and wrote a complaint, but he never received a response. The experience left Demetra D. feeling that it was hopeless to complain about the abuse. “After this I just think, ‘so what—why would I go [complain]?’ I am just glad I stayed alive through all this,” he told Human Rights Watch.[97]

In yet another incident in 2011, two police officers stopped Demetra D. on a Bishkek street shortly after he left a cafe and took him to a police station. Demetra D. asked a duty officer why he had been detained and stated that the police had no right to hold him. The duty officer hit Demetra D. and took him to another room where police officers forced him to perform oral sex on them. Demetra D. told Human Rights Watch:

Two policemen came in. They said, “You, fag, you will now suck our dicks.” I said, “I am not going to do that.” I said, “You are violating my rights.” They said, “No, here we decide who knows their rights and who doesn’t.”
One of them pushed me to my knees; another one took his penis out and started forcing it in my mouth. One officer was holding me from behind and really hurting my arms so that I would bend more. So I did it. Then he let my hands go, and took his pants off. They also said that they would also fuck me in the ass.[98]

Demetra D. then managed to speak to another police officer and state that he had been arbitrarily detained and was let go. He did not tell the officer about the sexual violence he experienced.[99]

The Rape and Torture of Demetra D. and Vitalii V.

On August 28, 2008, Demetra D. and his friend Vitalii V. were detained by police on suspicion of theft. Demetra D. and Vitalii V. told Human Rights Watch that police learned about their sexual orientation from the person who had reported Vitalii V. for theft. Police raped and beat Demetra D. and Vitalii V. while they were held in detention for three days.  Demetra D. described the first rape to Human Rights Watch:

They made us [me and Vitalii V.] kiss each other [on the mouth] and then also in intimate places. Told us to suck each [others’ penises]… [T]hey [also] took the handle of a hammer and took turns putting it in my and my friend’s [Vitalii V.’s] anus. They also said, “You have a whole night and day [of abuse] waiting for you.”[100]

Demetra D. told Human Rights Watch that while they remained in this police station, over 12 police officers came in and out of the room to rape, punch, kick, and humiliate him and Vitalii V. He recalled:

They tied my hands and knees, put me on my stomach. People without uniforms walked in, and anyone who wanted to put whatever they had in their hands [inside of] my anus. Then they would turn me on my back and beat me with batons.
They did not stop there. They took an electric shock weapon and put it near my anus. They didn’t stick it inside but would put it next to my anus and shock me. My mouth was gagged. And this kept on going until the evening. They would call their acquaintances and ask, “Do you want to see some fags?”
I kept telling them that I have a weak heart and allergies. I told them that my family would look for me no matter what. I thought I would die there. I heard my friend [Vitalii V.] screaming from another room. I think he confessed [to the theft] and they took him away. This is when it stopped.[101]

Two days later, Demetra D. and Vitalii V. were transferred to a police station in the district of Bishkek where the alleged crime occurred. Police officers tortured them further. Demetra D. described the treatment to Human Rights Watch:

They poured cold water on us, and it started again. We were in the hall. They told us to stand on one foot for two hours. It was intolerable to do this for hours. You just fall down. You can’t stand anymore. They wouldn’t let me lie on the floor. They beat me with a stick to make me stand up again. I fell and had an outburst. I said, “Do whatever you want to me! I can’t do this anymore! I don’t care.” They let us get dressed and put us in a cell.[102]

Vitalii V. told Human Rights Watch that at that same time, police tried to rape him and subjected him to other forms of ill-treatment.[103] He told Human Rights Watch:

An officer took a baton out of the drawer, put a condom on it and tried to do something [rape me with it] but it didn’t work.… [The officers] put a plastic bag on my head, handcuffed me, and put a chair [on me] so that I wouldn’t move. This suffocated me, and I fainted. They took the bag off, slapped my face, and then when I gained consciousness, they put the plastic bag back on. It continued like this all day long. In the evening they started beating me with a chess set box.… I was lying under a chair, handcuffed. They took my underwear and pants off, poured water on me, and started to use [an] electric shock weapon on me [my anus].[104]

Throughout three days of detention, police officers denied Vitalii V. access to food and water.[105] When asked whether he thought of reporting the torture and ill-treatment, Vitalii V. responded, “I am just scared. I did think about it, but I am sure that they would kill me if I reported [what they did to me]. I am scared.”[106]

Vitalii V. remained in detention and was later convicted of theft and served two years in prison. Demetra D. was released after three days after police did not find evidence linking him to the alleged theft. Demetra D. told Human Rights Watch that the investigator who released him asked whether or not he and Vitalii V. were beaten. Demetra D. did not complain and explained why to Human Rights Watch:

The police really threatened us, saying, “If you complain, we will find you and it will be even worse.” I was so hurt. I could hardly walk, and it hurt all over. And if I decided to go and have my bruises examined, [I was afraid the doctors would find nothing]. The bruises were really small [this time]. They [the police] are professional in beating, they don’t leave marks.[107]

Demetra D. suffered multiple injuries as a result of the multiple instances of torture and ill-treatment. He had his nose broken twice, and at the time of the 2012 interview with Human Rights Watch, complained of continuing problems with his kidneys as a result of the beatings.[108] Demetra D. did not report these incidents because the police threatened him with further abuse if he were to tell anyone.[109]

Oleg O.

Oleg O., a gay man from Bishkek, told Human Rights Watch that a male relative, a high ranking police officer, arranged for his detention in December 2010 in order to punish him for being gay and living with his male partner. Police detained Oleg O., then 17, as he tried to escape from this relative, who was forcing Oleg O. into his family’s house against his will.[110] Oleg O. told Human Rights Watch that the police officers used a portable electric shock weapon to stun him, dragged him into their car, and took him to a police station.[111] Oleg O. described the rape and torture police subjected him to there:

Two officers brutalized me for an hour and a half, then raped me, and locked me in a disciplinary cell. I am claustrophobic, and they locked me for two and a half days in the disciplinary cell. It was maybe 1.5 meters by one meter, and maybe four meters high and dark. Only once did they let me out to use the bathroom. They gave me no water or food, and I fainted. [112]

Two days later, officers pulled Oleg O. out of the cell, kicked him, and told him to leave.[113] Police officers did not check Oleg O.’s documents and were not aware of his age.

Oleg O. told Human Rights Watch that he considered filing a complaint about the ill-treatment and consulted a lawyer about what happened to him, but according to Oleg O., the lawyer was reluctant to help him. This reaction dissuaded Oleg O. from registering an official complaint.[114]

Threats of Rape

Several of the gay and bisexual men Human Rights Watch interviewed said that police threatened to rape them, including group rape or rape with a coat hanger or bottle. Rape threats were used to scare and intimidate victims into revealing their sexual orientation, confessing to crimes that they had not committed, or to pressure them to give money to the police. Threats of rape typically occurred in the context of beating, sexual humiliation, and other ill-treatment.

Igor Kusakov

In February 2013 Igor Kusakov, 45, an outreach worker at the Bishkek-based Anti-Aids Association, received a call from a man responding to a personal advertisement he had recently placed in a Bishkek newspaper. The men agreed to meet for a date, but when Kusakov arrived, the young man showed him a police ID and grabbed him by the hand.[115] Kusakov told Human Rights Watch how the police humiliated and threatened him with rape:

This officer was upset about my ad. He started grabbing my phone. Another police officer came and they put me in their car and took me to a police station. The first officer kept saying, “Oh, you are fag, do you sleep with men? Fags like you should be in jail so that you’d be raped there.”[116] 

The police officer who first contacted Kusakov harassed him, falsely accusing him of advertising sexual services for money. Kusakov told Human Rights Watch that he spent two hours in the police station while his colleagues negotiated with the police for his eventual release.[117] Kusakov did not make a complaint about this incident.[118]

Lyosha L.

Lyosha L., a gay activist from the Chui region in northern Kyrgyzstan, told Human Rights Watch that police stopped him and a friend on July 30, 2012, supposedly to check their documents, as they were about to get into a taxi to go to a birthday party. Police immediately detained the two men and took them to a police station, allegedly because the men were “kissing in public.” During the 30-minute detention, police threatened Lyosha L. and his friend with rape and humiliated them. At the police station, police officers asked Lyosha L. and his friend about which of them preferred being on top or on bottom during sex and repeatedly called them fags (in Russian, gomiki). They also threatened to put Lyosha L. in a cell with one of the police officers who likes men “just like you” so that the officer could rape him.[119] Lyosha L. and his friend paid 2,000 soms ($41) to the police in order to be released.[120]  Lyosha L. did not make a complaint about the incident, fearing retaliation.[121]

Targeting of Gay Men for Extortion Without Violence

Gay and bisexual men in Osh, Bishkek, and Kara-Balta told Human Rights Watch that the police stopped them in public places in order to extort money from them. The amounts extorted or demanded ranged from US$12 to $10,000. The highest amount that any of the men interviewed by Human Rights Watch paid was $1,000. In contrast to many of the cases described in previous sections, the cases described below did not involve police use of violence or threats of violence in order to extort money. In none of the cases described in this report did victims file complaints about extortion to the police, typically out of fear of retaliation or disclosure of their sexual orientation, as described below.

The gay men and boys whose cases are documented in this section told Human Rights Watch that the police stopped or detained them under different pretexts, such as identity checks, spurious allegations of criminal activity, including false allegations of criminal homosexual activity, or through information obtained about them from  gay acquaintance(s) forced to share their personal contacts while under police pressure and threats. In some cases, police targeted public places they knew or believed gay men to spend time.

Kyrgyz law defines extortion as “demanding to pass other people’s property or property rights or committing other actions related to property under threat of violence … or under threat of disseminating information that would disgrace the victim or his/her relatives, or other information which could cause substantial harm to rights or lawful interests of the victim and his/her relatives.”[122]

Targeting Gay Men for Extortion in Parks and Other Public Spaces

In August 2008, three police stopped Danik Kasmamytov, then 17 years old, in one of Bishkek’s parks, where he was found hugging his male partner. Kasmamytov told Human Rights Watch: 

The police asked, “Are you taking drugs or what?” We said, “No, of course not, we are just friends.” They told us friends do not hug and we got into an argument. Then they told us the park is a public place and said you shouldn’t show any kind of emotion there. We told them there were many couples walking around, and they responded, “But they are guys and girls, not two guys.” They asked us for money.[123]

Kasmamytov told Human Rights Watch that the police officers asked him a lot of intimate questions and told him that he was “dishonoring the [Kyrgyz] nation” because of his sexual orientation. The police forced Kasmamytov and his boyfriend to write a note disclosing their sexual orientation and personal details. Kasmamytov told Human Rights Watch:

We were told what to write. I was still “closeted,” and it was the first note of this kind [I’d written] in my life. I was trembling. Everything ended when my boyfriend gave them money. He didn’t have much money on him and didn’t want to go home [to get more]…. He called his friend and the friend agreed to bring the money.[124]

Kasmamytov told Human Rights Watch that he was so scared after the incident that he stopped seeing his boyfriend. He said ever since the incident he avoids showing any affection in public spaces.[125] Kasmamytov did not report the incident fearing disclosure of his sexual orientation and retaliation[126].

Another gay man, Alisher A., told Human Rights Watch that police stopped him and six other gay men in a park in Bishkek in late May 2012. He said police had apparently overheard the men’s conversations in which they referred to each other as women. Alisher A. described how police held them in the park and extorted money from them:

I heard one of the seven police officers say, “Oh, we got these golubki [a way to refer to gay men in a derogatory manner]. None of them [identified themselves]. They said that we were violating public order. They separated us from each other, two in each group. One of the police officers searched me and touched me in an inappropriate way. It was unpleasant for me but I stayed silent.[127]

Alisher A. told Human Rights Watch that he didn’t give any money to the police officers but that his friends who were searched in another group gave the officers money. Police then let Alisher A. and the others go.[128]

Police detained Samat S., then 21, and his boyfriend, as they were kissing in a car at night in Bishkek in the spring of 2009. Samat S. told Human Rights Watch that he had to give all the money he had on him: 600 soms ($15) and his phone to the police officers who threatened to open a case against them if they did not pay. The men were not taken to a police station. The next day, Samat S. met one of the officers to get his phone back in exchange for more money.[129]

Targeting Gay Men at Hotels and Private Apartments

Activists told Human Rights Watch that police officers often monitor private apartments and hotel rooms that gay men use to meet each other. For example, Bahodyr B., 45, told Human Rights Watch that police came to his hotel room at 3 a.m. one night in 2012 when he was sleeping with his male lover. His lover was scared and told police that Bahodyr B. forced him to have sex.[130] Bahodyr B. said he gave 4,000 soms ($84) to the police, who had threatened to initiate a criminal investigation based on the allegations.

A gay couple, both 24, told Human Rights Watch that they were detained by the police in Bishkek on the way to a rental apartment at 10 p.m. during the summer of 2012.[131] Police stopped the couple near the building’s elevator and asked why they were going into the apartment without any women. Police took both men to the police station allegedly to confirm their identities. The couple told Human Rights Watch that they were released after they questioned the police officers’ motives for detaining them. They said the police pressured them into giving them their parents’ contact information, but they refused.[132] The police let them go after the couple, who had a good understanding of the law, argued that the police had no right to detain them. The gay couple did not make a complaint about this incident for fear of disclosure[133].

Threat of False Criminal Charges for Extortion

Igor Kusakov, 45, told Human Rights Watch that in 2008 Bishkek police took him into custody to question him as a witness in a case involving the murder of another gay man. Igor is openly gay and disclosed his sexual orientation to the police. The police took Kusakov’s mobile phone and asked him detailed information about his male contacts. The police asked about one contact, Artyom A., whom Kusakov explained was a medical professional. They also asked Kusakov to help them identify other wealthy gay men.[134]

Artyom A. told Human Rights Watch that the same evening that Kusakov had been in police custody, two policemen approached him near his place of work, took him to a police station, and demanded that he pay them $1,000, or they would disclose his sexual orientation.[135] Artyom A. paid the police the $1,000 and left the police station.

Another gay man, Tohir T., a 34-year-old ethnic Uzbek, told Human Rights Watch that he experienced threats and extortion by the police in July 2012 following a complaint made by his former lover. The day after an altercation between the man and Tohir T. at Tohir T.’s house, the police called him on the phone, claiming that his lover had filed a complaint about “being seduced.” Tohir T. said that the police demanded that he pay them 20,000 soms ($425), or they would kill his family and disclose his sexual orientation to his neighbors. A police officer eventually came to Tohir T.’s house, took 3,000 soms ($65), and punched him in the chest three times. As a result of this abuse, Tohir T. continued to feel pain, but he did not dare to go to the doctor out of fear that his wife would find out about the situation.[136]

In another case, Azamat A., who lives in southern Kyrgyzstan, told Human Rights Watch that in July 2008, two uniformed law enforcement officers came to his home with a written complaint from a man alleging that Azamat A. had forced him to have sex. The officers demanded $10,000 in order to not initiate a criminal investigation. Azamat A. had met the accuser online and spent time with him but did not have sex with him. Ultimately, the police did not press charges after Azamat A. threatened to take them to court.[137]

In 2006 Murat M., a 32-year-old NGO outreach worker, was walking with a gay friend on a street of a town in southern Kyrgyzstan when police stopped them, saying that a third man who was with the police at the time claimed he had had sex with Murat M.’s friend in a park. According to Murat M., his friend subsequently had to pay the police $400 to avoid detention on possible charges of forced sodomy.[138]

[33] Code of Administrative Responsibility of Kyrgyzstan, adopted August 4, 1998, art. 556.

[34] UN Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, Visit to Kyrgyzstan, A/HRC/19/61/Add.2, February 21, 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-61-Add2_en.pdf (accessed December 17, 2013), p. 8.

[35] Code of Administrative Responsibility of Kyrgyzstan, adopted August 4, 1998, art. 565.

[36]UN Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, Visit to Kyrgyzstan, A/HRC/19/61/Add.2, February 21, 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-61-Add2_en.pdf (accessed December 17, 2013), p. 8.

[37] Human Rights Watch, Kyrgyzstan—Where is the Justice?: Interethnic Violence in Southern Kyrgyzstan and its Aftermath, August 16, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2010/08/16/where-justice; Distorted Justice: Kyrgyzstan’s Flawed Investigations and Trials on the 2010 Violence, June 8, 2011. Human Rights Watch documented how Kyrgyz authorities failed to prevent or stop violence once it erupted, and strong indications that some military and police forces knowingly or unwittingly facilitated attacks on Uzbek neighborhoods. While most victims of the June violence were ethnic Uzbek, most detainees—almost 85 percent—were also ethnic Uzbek. Victims also described to Human Rights Watch how law enforcement personnel used ethnic slurs during their detention, leading to serious concern that there was an ethnic bias in the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators.

[38] Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan, art. 305-1. Torture is punishable by up to eight years’ imprisonment and one to three years of deprivation of the right to engage in certain professional activities. This definition generally corresponds to the definition of torture in the UN Convention against Torture, with the exception of the last part of the definition in Kyrgyzstan’s criminal code, which says that intentional infliction of suffering can be torture when it committed with the “knowledge” of a public official as opposed to “acquiescence” in the Convention against Torture, article 1.

[39] Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan, art. 305.

[40]Human Rights Watch group interview with Fathullo F. (not his real name) and three other men, August 3, 2012.

[41] Ibid. In Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and Russian languages there are a large number of derogatory slang and swear terms used to humiliate and offend by implying that a person is gay. In this report, all of those different words are replaced by the English terms “fag” or “faggot.”

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Human Rights Watch interview with Fathullo F. (not his real name), February 25, 2013.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Human Rights Watch interview with Mansur M. (not his real name), October 21, 2012.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Human Rights Watch interviews with Isroil I., February 25 and 27, 2013.

[52] Ibid.

[54]Mikhail Kudryashov’s case has been widely publicized in a number of national and international media outlets and addressed by local and international human rights groups.

[55] Human Rights Watch interview with Mikhail Kudryashov, Bishkek, August 15, 2012

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Human Rights Watch interview with Edik E, Bishkek, July 28, 2012.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Human Rights Watch interviews with Edik E., Bishkek, July 28, 2012, and with Mikhail Kudryashov, Bishkek, August 15, 2012.

[62] Ibid.

[63] National Bureau of Court-Medical Expertise, Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic, Expert Conclusion, November 2010, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[64] Medical documents of Mikhail Kudryashov, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[65] Court documents on file with Human Rights Watch.

[66] Mikhail Kudryashov’s court materials, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[67] Appeal from Mikhail Kudryashov to the Bishkek City Court, March 30, 2012; Forensic medical examiner report, November 4, 2010; and other medical documents provided by Mikhail Kudryashov to Human Rights Watch. All documents on file with Human Rights Watch.  

[68] Human Rights Watch interview with Sardar Bagishbekov, May 2, 2013; Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Asel Koluibaeva, August 12, 2013, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[69]“Please describe the measures adopted to prevent and punish discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation as well as the remedies available to victims of such discrimination. Please provide detailed information on the case of Mikhail Kudryashov who was detained and beaten while in police custody in October 2010 for allegedly disseminating gay films.”  UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, “List of issues in relation to the second periodic report of Kyrgyzstan,” CCPR/C/KGZ/Q/2, August 22, 2013, http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/52a9985f4.pdf (accessed December 18, 2013).

[70] Bishkek City Court sentence of Mikhail Kudryashov, July 26, 2011, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[71] Human Rights Watch interview with Mikhail Kudryashov, Bishkek, August 15, 2012.

[72] “Kyrgyzstan: Threats against human rights defender Mr. Maxim Bratukhin,” Frontline Defenders, June 14, 2011, http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/15188 (accessed January 23, 2013).

[73] Human Rights Watch interview with Edik E., Bishkek, July 28, 2012.

[74] Ibid.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Human Rights Watch interview with Sebastian S., Bishkek, August 10, 2012.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Human Rights Watch interview with Zhenya, Bishkek, August 10, 2012.

[81] Human Rights Watch interview with Maksim Bratukhin, Bishkek, July 31, 2012.

[82] Ibid.

[83]Human Rights Watch interviews with victims, 2012-2013 in four cities in Kyrgyzstan.

[84] Human Rights Watch interviews with Demetra July 31, 2012, and Isroil I., February 25, 2013.

[85] Human Rights Watch interview with Zhenya R., August 10, 2012.

[86] Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan, art. 129. The Bishkek-based LGBT NGO Labrys reported unwillingness on the part of police to open an investigation in a case of rape of a transgender woman. Police told the NGO that someone whose gender marker is “male” cannot be raped, and they refused to register the case. LGBT organization Labrys and Sexual Rights Initiative submission to the UN Human Rights Council, May 2010, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session8/KG/JS1_UPR_KGZ_S08_2010_JointSubmission1.pdf (accessed January 10, 2013).

[87] Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan, art.130.

[88] UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 999, art. 7. http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3aa0.html. (accessed 19 December 2013).

[89] World Health Organization, “Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence,” 2003, http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2004/924154628X.pdf (accessed February 12, 2013).

[90] This phenomenon persists in prisons in many other post-Soviet states as well. Alisher Latypov, “Prohibition, stigma and violence against men who have sex with men: Effects on HIV in Central Asia,” Central Asian Survey, vol. 32 (2013).

[91] Ibid.

[92] Human Rights Watch interview with Ministry of Interior official (name withheld for security reasons), November 6, 2012.

[93] Human Rights Watch interview with Demetra D., Bishkek, July 31, 2012.

[94] Ibid.

[95] Ibid.

[96] Ibid.

[97] Ibid.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Ibid.

[103] Human Rights Watch interview with Vitalii, Bishkek, August 16, 2012.

[104] Ibid.

[105] Ibid.

[106] Ibid.

[107] Human Rights Watch interview with Demetra, Bishkek, July 31, 2012.

[108] Ibid.

[109] Ibid.

[110] Human Rights Watch interview with Oleg, Bishkek, August 14, 2012.

[111] Ibid.

[112] Ibid.

[113] Ibid.

[114] Ibid.

[115] Human Rights Watch interview with Igor Kusakov, Bishkek, March, 1 2013.

[116] Ibid.

[117] Ibid.

[118] Ibid.

[119] Human Rights Watch interview with Lyosha, August 10, 2012.

[120] Ibid.

[121] Ibid.

[122] Criminal Procedure Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, art. 170. Extortion is punishable by up to three years of corrective labor or two year imprisonment. Group extortion based on a preliminary agreement or use of violence can carry up to five years’ imprisonment. Article313 includes specific penalties for extortion by state officials.

[123] Human Rights Watch interview with Danik Kasmamytov, Bishkek, August 10, 2012.

[124] Ibid.

[125] Ibid.

[126] Ibid.

[127] Human Rights Watch interview with Alisher A., Bishkek, August 9, 2012.

[128] Ibid.

[129] Human Rights Watch interview with Samat S., Moscow, November 9, 2012.

[130] Human Rights Watch interview with Bahodyr B., October 22, 2012.

[131] Human Rights Watch interview with Samat S. and David, Bishkek, August 7, 2012.

[132] Ibid.

[133] Ibid.

[134] Human Rights Watch interview with Igor Kusakov, Bishkek, November 5, 2012. 

[135]Human Rights Watch interview with Artyom A., Bishkek, November 7, 2012.

[136] Human Rights Watch interview with Tohir and three other men, August 3, 2012.

[137] Human Rights Watch interview with Azamat A., October 23, 2012.

[138] Human Rights Watch interview with Murat M., August 4, 2012.