BISHKEK -- A prominent Kyrgyz rights defender has condemned an antigay fatwa issued by the country's acting grand mufti.
Talking to RFE/RL on January 31, Tolekan Ismailova, the director of the group Citizens against Corruption, called the fatwa by Maksat Hajji Toktomushev "unconstitutional."
Toktomushev's fatwa, issued on January 29, condemned same-sex relationships and challenged the findings of a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that accused Kyrgyz police of extorting, threatening, arbitrarily detaining, beating, and sexually abusing gays.
Responding to the HRW report, Toktomushev called on Kyrgyz authorities "to pay special attention to the activities of some public organizations that disseminate social discord while using humanistic ideas."
Ismailova, who is also the executive secretary of Kyrgyzstan's NGOs forum and founding president of Kyrgyzstan's Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, said investigations must be launched into the cases reported by HRW.