accused a U.S.-based health care aid group on
Wednesday of breaking the law and supporting the
"interests of homosexuals" in the tightly controlled
ex-Soviet republic, where homosexuality is outlawed.
nonprofit Population Services International, or PSI, failed
to submit required legal paperwork from its headquarters in
Washington, D.C., and did not register its office
rental contract, the Justice Ministry said in a
statement posted on the Internet.
especially famous for its projects universally asserting
interests of persons with unorthodox sexual orientation,"
the statement said, adding that homosexuality is
punishable by up to three years in prison in
The ministry said
it had given PSI 30 days to correct the alleged
violations, a requirement that the government has voiced
before shutting down other foreign-based NGOs in the
also alleged that PSI, founded in 1970, was created by U.S.
entrepreneur Philip Harvey to promote the use of
contraceptives produced by his sex products company,
Adam & Eve.
The PSI director
in Uzbekistan, Robert Gray, said the organization would
PSI's Web site, the group has operations in more than 60
developing countries, with programs focused on malaria,
reproductive health, child survival, and HIV. In
Uzbekistan, it runs a project aimed at preventing the
spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
neighboring Turkmenistan are the only former Soviet
republics where antigay legislation dating back to the rule
of dictator Josef Stalin is still enforced.
advocates say Uzbek gays are harassed by law enforcement
officers who tap phones and use dating Web sites to identify
gays and extort money from them.
Western-funded aid groups have been shut down and expelled
from Uzbekistan since a wave of international
criticism followed a brutal crackdown on popular
unrest in May 2005 in the eastern city of Andijan.
Rights groups and
witnesses say government troops killed at least 700
mostly peaceful protesters, while the government put the
death toll at 187 and blamed Islamic militants for
instigating the violence.
Karimov has ruled the predominantly Muslim nation of 26
million since before the 1991 Soviet collapse. (AP)