Armenian police continued to blackmail gay men after homosexuality was decriminalised, according to US Embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks.

“Despite new legislation that decriminalised homosexuality in Armenia, societal discrimination remained an obstacle for homosexuals in 2003,” the cable reads.

“Members of the homosexual community told [the] US Embassy on December 24 that homosexuals continue to face intolerant attitudes and severe discrimination in rural areas and in the military.

“[A] Local human rights NGO said that cases of police harassment of homosexuals now involve blackmail and extortion rather than violence. Both noted, however, that the overall situation had improved and that cases of harassment had abated somewhat during the past year in [the capital] Yerevan.

“Chairman of the Helsinki Association, Mikail Danielyan reported that police officers continue to harass homosexuals in Armenia. He reported at least three cases in which police attempted to blackmail men by threatening to publicly expose them as homosexuals to their families and friends.

“Police officers now use less violent tactics but pressure homosexuals for information about homosexuals, especially married men, in high-ranking business or government positions from whom they can extort larger amounts of money,” the cable reads.

Armenia has no laws protecting people from discrimination on the grounds of sexuality.

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