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Tajik Homosexual Attacked Following Interview

Tajik Man Speaks After Antigay Attack
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WATCH: A gay Tajik man speaks to RFE/RL after being beaten and stabbed outside his home.

DUSHANBE -- A Tajik man who recently described his closeted life as a homosexual in articles and a video published by RFE/RL says he has been stabbed in retribution for his interview.

Komil, whose identity was shielded in the video and who only gave his first name, told RFE/RL on February 12 that he was attacked by two men outside his Dushanbe home earlier this week.

"They told me, 'Every single day of yours will be like this from now on,'" Komil told RFE/RL's Tajik Service by telephone. "They said I should be ashamed of being a homosexual rather than shamelessly giving interviews to the media about my sexuality."

Komil said the men punched and kicked him before stabbing him with a knife during the February 8 attack.

"I was very afraid when one of them pointed a knife toward my face, and I covered my face with my hands," Komil said. "This is how I was stabbed on both arms."

Komil says the men ran away when he screamed for help, and passersby helped him get to a local hospital.

The 32-year-old paralegal, who contacted RFE/RL to describe the attack, said he had no intention of filing a formal report on the attack because he was afraid of reprisal attacks.

In his interview with RFE/RL's Tajik Service early this month, Komil said his parents made him to undergo years of medical treatments in an attempt to cure his homosexuality after he told them at the age of 6 that he "felt like I was a girl."

In the course of the interview, Komil said he was ready to speak about his "life in denial" after hiding his true sexuality for 25 years. "I want to be allowed to live like I want to live," he said, "and I don't want to be killed."

Tajikistan has decriminalized homosexuality, but there is a widespread social stigma against same-sex relations.

Tajikistan's Grand Mufti Saidmukarram Abduqodirzoda condemned homosexuality during a Friday sermon in Dushanbe last week.

He said, "It's every Muslim's duty not to turn a blind eye on the issue, and try to dissuade them from [homosexuality]."

Written by Farangis Najibullah, with contributions from RFE/RL's Tajik Service correspondents Shahlo Gulkhoja and Firuz Barotov