A young man in Turkmenistan who came out as gay under a pseudonym in October to bring awareness to the plight of sexual minorities in his country, has vanished along with his family after recording a farewell video message and going to the police station where he had been summoned.
Radio Free Europe reports: “Twenty-four-year-old Kasymberdy Garayev — whose mother and father and siblings have also disappeared — worked as a cardiologist at a prestigious clinic in Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital. He recounted to RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service the many problems he had being gay in Turkmenistan — where homosexuality is still considered a crime — in a story published on October 21. Garayev described the massive pressure he was under from both his family and officials in Turkmenistan, where being gay is punishable by up to 2 years in prison. He said that only members of his family knew about his sexual orientation and even they attempted to convince him to ‘live a lie’ and conceal the truth from everyone.”
After publishing his interview under the name Kamil, he was sought after by Turkmen police, who called in a number of people. Garayev was among them. He has since disappeared.
Said Garayev in his message: “I really did not mean to harm you by my behavior. I am sorry! If I am gone, don’t blame me! Dad, don’t be too nervous, otherwise you will get sick. Mom…don’t worry either. Kovus, keep an eye on them all. Forgive me! Kovus, be careful, keep an eye on everyone. Kyas, be considerate and learn to think a little. Act considerately, be careful! Akja, my little sister, you haven’t seen anything yet, only tears. Forgive me too!… Akjahanjan, I hope you grow up a beautiful, prominent girl. Be a good girl! I guess I won’t see how you grow up. I am sorry! All be happy and honest. Live in a happy family, but now without me. Do not worry. I beg you again, forgive. Sorry! I kiss you all. Farewell!”