Kyrgyzstan: MEPs condemns plans for anti-gay ‘propaganda law’

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Leading European figures have condemned plans for a Russia-style anti-gay propaganda law in Kyrgyzstan.

It emerged yesterday that lawmakers in Kyrgyzstan have introduced a new bill to make any “positive” statement about homosexuality a criminal act punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine.

The move has today been condemned by several leading figures in European Parliament, including the Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, Labour MEP Michael Cashman.

Cashman said: “In a country where LGBT people are already marginalised and need to hide for fear for arbitrary violence – and not the least by police forces – this draft bill is an appalling move to further curtail the rights of LGBT people, and those who support them.

“I call upon political parties as well as the government to speak out against this bill, and clearly support the fundamental rights of all its citizens.”

Nicole Kiil-Nielsen MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to Kyrgyzstan and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, said: “It’s only been 16 years since Kyrgyzstan decriminalised homosexuality. It is unacceptable that people might again be put in jail for being who they are, or even for sharing objective information about different sexual orientations.

“I urge the Parliament not to go back to state-sponsored homophobia.”

If passed, the law would amend the Criminal Code, the Code of Administrative Responsibility, the Law on Peaceful Assembly and the Law on Mass Media.

Anyone found making positive statements about homosexuality “using the media or information and telecommunications networks” would face up to six months in prison and a penalty fine from 2,000 to 5,000 som (£22 to £55), while repeat offenders and those who make statements that could be seen by minors face a larger fine and a prison term of up to a year.