LGBT+ activist leaves hospital after savage beating only to be put under house arrest

Miraziz Bazarov

An Uzbek LGBT+ activist who was attacked with a baseball bat has finally been released from hospital, only to be placed under immediate house arrest.

Miraziz Bazarov, 29, was rushed to hospital in March after masked thugs ambushed him outside his home, leaving him with a smashed femur and serious internal injuries.

After leaving hospital on 29 April he was immediately taken to the Tashkent directorate of interior affairs and interrogated, according to his lawyer Sergei Mayorov.

He was charged with libel and public insult before being sent home on house arrest and ordered not to communicate with anyone.

Mayorov says the charges aren’t related to Bazarov’s support for LGBT+ rights – at least not officially.

The case concerns a TikTok video he posted last year about Tashkent school No. 110, which he attended as a child.

Bazarov urged parents not to send their children there, saying it is “a place where elderly female slaves and losers teach children to be slaves and losers.”

The video does not mention any teacher by name and is clearly an expression of Bazarov’s personal opinion, notes the human rights organisation IPHR.

The complaints, according to the authorities, are that Bazarov’s video “denigrate[s] the honour and dignity” of teachers and parents, “insults citizens and their families, accuses them of aiding terrorist organisations, hurts women’s self-esteem with his slanderous statements, ridiculing national traditions, and also sows interethnic strife.”

The school made headlines last month over claims that officials were measuring and photographing the length of students’ socks as “a fight against LGBT people”.

According to the Uzbek news outlet Ozodlik, the baffling measure originated on an Uzbekistan TV program that suggested short socks and torn trousers were how gay people in Europe “mark themselves”.

The incident, as absurd as it was, illustrated the level of hysteria surrounding LGBT+ issues in Uzbekistan.

While Bazarov’s video made no comment on the sock scandal, the blogger is a vocal critic of President Mirziyoyev and had recently called for LGBT+ gatherings at holy sites in protest against the criminalisation of same-sex relationships in his country.

Multiple human rights organisations, including as IPHR and Human Rights Watch, have called on the Uzbek authorities to protect Bazarov’s right to freedom of expression and stop efforts to prosecute him.

He faces a sentence of up to three years of “restricted liberty” if he’s convicted.