Gay man’s murder raises questions over Uzbek human rights reforms

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09/27/2019

The murder of a gay man in Uzbekistan has cast the spotlight on the treatment of LGBT+ people in the country and raised questions over government reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment, human rights activists have said. Shokir Shavkatov, 25, was stabbed to death inside his flat in the Central Asian nation’s capital earlier this month in an attack that LGBT+ activists say bore the hallmarks of a hate crime. The victim had come out on social media just days earlier, according to local media – a rare step in the country where gay sex between men is a crime that carries a potential jail sentence of up to three years. Police have said the motive for the killing has yet to be determined. A 28-year-old man who police say connected with the victim online and met him at his apartment has been charged with murder. It is the latest in a long line of violent acts that have left LGBT+ people in the country fearing for their lives and coincides with reports – which police deny – of a series of raids targeting gay men.

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