Gay Convicts in Kyrgyzstan

by Nathan Hamm on 10/22/2004

Unsurprisingly, gay convicts in Kyrgyz prisons are abused and ostracized by both guards and other prisoners.

The Reuters report highlights not only this treatment, but the hierarchy of Kyrgyz prison society.

every prison has a strict informal hierarchy with its own leadership elected by the convicts, the mainstream group and the “offended” group, including gays.

The “offended” are the outcasts in prison who don’t comply with the harsh prison norms or informal rules and are deprived of their rights.

Every mainstream prisoner who communicates with someone in the “offended” group will eventually be expelled to that group. If a prison officer communicates with such a person, prisoners avoid any contact with him as well. It is assumed that once someone is in the “offended” group, the stigma will remain permanently attached to him.

“Such laws are not written down, but apply there. The mainstream prisoners are not happy with the ‘offended’ [inmates] and try to ostracise them,” Timurkhan Jedilbaev, a spokesman for Oasis, told IRIN.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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