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Well-Known Turkmen Actor 'Under Arrest' For Allegedly Being Gay

ASHGABAT -- A well-known Turkmen entertainer has reportedly been arrested on charges of being gay, which is a crime in the tightly-controlled Central Asian nation.

The website cited several sources in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, as saying that the actor and showman, whose identity was not disclosed, was arrested along with about a dozen other people, including his partner, in late March.

According to the report, some of those arrested were later released after they paid bribes.

A source in Ashgabat confirmed to RFE/RL that the man was under arrest, but it has been impossible to obtain any clarification of the situation from the authorities.

The former Soviet republic's Criminal Code envisions up to two years in prison for homosexual relations.

The issue is a social taboo and anti-gay sentiment among many Turkmens is very strong.

Last year, a young doctor in Ashgabat, Kasymberdy Garayev, and members of his family faced pressure after he came out as gay and spoke to RFE/RL about problems faced by homosexuals in Turkmenistan.

With reporting by