Kazakhstan has approved chemical castration as a form of punishment for people jailed on charges of pedophilia.
The law entered into force with approval from President Nursultan Nazarbayev last week.
Under the law, chemical castration will be administered through a course of injections that will act on the body over a number of months to reduce sexual urges.
“The drugs being administered by injection to the subject of castration are anti-androgenic,” psychiatrist Ahtolkyn Meyrmanova told 365info.kz, referring to a type of medication intended to reduce male hormones in the organism. “The injections will be carried out once every three months under observation from a specialist.”
The legislation to introduce chemical castration in Kazakhstan was proposed by the office of the General Prosecutor. The deputy to the General Prosecutor, Nurmahanbet Isayev, has estimated that up to 100 rapists are released from jail ever years.
KazTAG news agency cited official data stating that more than 3,000 people have been sentenced on sex crimes over the past five years. Of the more than 200 whose offenses involving underage children, 63 had prior convictions for similar crimes.
The drastic measures against pedophiles have broad support in society, although some rights activists have spoken out against the punishment.
“This method does not work 100 percent. Some patients continue to experience sexual desire despite the hormonal changes,” Mikhail Zakharchenko, a doctor, told 365info.kz. “Moreover, the erectile functions of pedophiles are suppressed only while they are taking the medication, but after the course of treatment, they return to normal.”
Zakharchenko also noted that the medication used during chemical castration can be neutralized by taking drugs designed to restore sexual potency and increase testosterone levels.
The way this remedy is being adopted in Kazakhstan differs notable from similar initiatives in some western countries, where pedophiles typically volunteer for the treatment instead of having it applied to them as a matter of course.
The authorities, however, intend to go further in their campaign against pedophiles.
One plan is to create an online database with pictures of previously convicted pedophiles.
Today.kz cited first deputy General Prosecutor Iogan Merkel as saying that members of the public will be able to visit the site to look at photos of convicted individuals and look up where they live.
That approach was initially adopted in Britain in 2000 following a concerted tabloid newspaper-led campaign. Introduction of the sex offender registry sparked a wave of vigilante assaults that sometimes ended up targeting the wrong people.
What is being proposed in Kazakhstan appears on the face of things to present a much greater risk of provoking vigilante behavior.