100 LGBT+ people arrested in Azerbaijan

azerbaijan police gay express
Photo credit: Aziz Karimov
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At least 100 LGBT+ people are reported to have been arrested and tortured in Azerbaijan.

Following Police raids in the capital Baku, local activists report beatings and torture of LGBT+ people.

Lawyers confirm at least 100 people have been arrested over a number of days.

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“Suddenly, without any clear reasons to us, police officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs organised raids against gay and transsexual people,” Javid Nabiyev, the president of the Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance says in a Facebook video.

He says Police shaved the heads of some of those detained and the raids took place in public street locations, where people were meeting in groups, and in private apartments.

Police say they are accusing those arrested for prostitution and that the detentions are unrelated to sexual orientation, according to EuroAsia Net.

Swedish human rights group, Civil Rights Defenders, spoke to activists in Baku who wished to be anonymous.

They report detainees were subjected to beatings, verbal abuse, forced medical examinations and that trans women had their heads forcibly shaved.

“Many were released only after giving up the addresses of fellow members of the LGBTI community, who were then in turn arrested and subjected to the same treatment. An undetermined number of those detained have been sentenced to either 20 or 30 days of administrative detention,” the Civil Rights Defenders say in the statement.

Samad Ismayilov, the president of Minority Azerbaijan relayed to Gay Star News a testimony given to him by an LGBT+ person that was detained.

It reads: “I was with my friends in the downtown (Nizami Street) around 12 am and a group of people approached us asking what we are doing there.

“We were 5 people, they took us to the police car saying that they need to identify us.

“I started arguing with them saying that I have my ID on me. So I showed them and they let me go but took all of my friends.

“I went to their home and got their ID’s and then went to the police station, they have released them only after 2 hours, humiliating them and warning that they don’t want to see us in the city anymore.

“Yesterday they stopped me again just near my place saying that they are conducting a raid. I was sitting in the park close to my home, luckily my family was around and they started arguing with police and they didn’t take me.

“I have few friends that police arrested them just in their house.

“They treat you like you’re a murderer’

“They make others to talk and give them the addresses of their friends so they randomly come to your house and arrest you. Also, they arrested most of them for 20-30 days.

“And if you don’t give information about others, they call to your family (which is the worst) or beat you. Most of them were beaten, they shave transgender people’s head, and they humiliate them.

“The police threaten them to get information about others. When I tried to ask why all this happening, some said it’s a raid and some said to me that it’s none of my business and if I don’t shut up, I’ll be in trouble.

“They treat you like you’re a murderer and they even arrested one of my friends who works at a bakery. They took him from his workplace. There are many others (I cannot say their names) stylists, translator, they took them from the club.

“We wrote a letter to the First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva already.

“Also my boyfriend and other friends are receiving several calls every day from random numbers asking them to meet – we are afraid that this is how police wants to arrest them.’

Azerbaijan neighbours Chechnya, where reports of over 100 gay men being arrested and sent to camps emerged early this year. At least six men are said to have been killed.

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