Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises sex between men
Criminal Code 1997, Article 135 Homosexual Acts

Article 135 criminalises sexual intercourse between men with a penalty of up to two years imprisonment.1



The US Department of State Human Rights Report for Turkmenistan states that the enforcement of the law was selective during the year.


summary provided by the UK Commonwealth and Foreign office states that the law in Turkmenistan is “rarely applied”. Despite this, the report indicates that “homophobia is widespread, and homosexuals hide their sexual orientation to avoid discrimination”.


A 2013 report by Amnesty International claimed that incidences of arrest were increasing, with gay men being forced to pay large bribes in order to secure their release.

Statements by Public Figures


In March, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vepa Hajiyev, addressed the country’s anti-gay laws before the Human Rights Committee. On the question of whether homosexuality was a crime, it was currently a punishable offence under the Criminal Code, he said. He claimed there was no treaty or agreement to which Turkmenistan was party that required the country to legalise homosexuality. Current laws guaranteed equality regardless of language, religion, political beliefs, gender, but not in respect to sexual preference.


Reports coming from Turkmenistan are slim. According to leaked US Embassy cables, government officials refuse to acknowledge the existence of gay men in the country. State media refuses to discuss the subject.

Persecution and Discrimination


Alternative News of Turkmenistan posted a video allegedly made by Ashgabat police recording the interrogation of a transgender individual. The video purported to show a transgender individual dressed in female clothing enduring an abusive and humiliating interrogation for alleged involvement in prostitution.


The 2013 US Department of State Human Rights Report on Turkmenistan was only aware of one incident of violence, directed towards an LGBT rights activist. The report does however suggest that social stigma may reduce the reporting of abuse.

A report from Amnesty International, interviewing individuals from the country, suggests that LGBT individuals are often subject to abuse, both from society and from state authorities. One man reported how he was forced to pay a fine of over 10 times the average Turkmenistan monthly salary in order to avoid being sent to prison. Gay men were forced to denounce other gay men, with some being beaten to secure compliance. Others reportedly faced travel restrictions, stopping them from leaving the country.

Legislative News


In its third UPR cycle, Turkmenistan noted a recommendation it received relating to adopting a anti-discrimination legislation that prevent all grounds for discrimination including sexual orientation and gender identities.


During its second UPR cycle, Turkmenistan rejected recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual activity.

1. Criminal Code 1997, Article 135 Homosexual Acts

“(1) Homosexual acts, i.e. sexual intercourse between men, shall be punished with a term of imprisonment of up to two years.” Full text.

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