Introduction “You will not find any gay bars or clubs in Ashgabat (‘City of Love’), the capital city of Turkmenistan, despite a population of about one million people; homosexuality is illegal in Turkmenistan.” That is the welcoming message to gays from this rural and desolate country on the Caspian Sea in western Asia. The LGBT
Although it is wealthy in natural resources in certain areas, most of Turkmenistan is covered by the Karakum (Black Sands) Desert. It has a single-party system, and was ruled by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov until 21 December 2006, when he died. He became notorious in the West for his dictatorial rule and extravagant cult of personality. Presidential elections were held on 11 February 2007. Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow was declared the winner with 89% of the vote. Human rights are generally not respected by many authorities in Turkmenistan, although some human rights are guaranteed in the Constitution of Turkmenistan, such as social equality, sex equality, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and freedom of movement. Turkmenistan has the third-worst restrictions on the freedom of the press in the world. In addition the new president enforced a ban on satellite dishes. Beards and long hair are also banned.
Male homosexuality is illegal in Turkmenistan. Punishment ranges from a fine to 2 years in prison.
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