LGBTQI+ activists who protested detentions of trans community members detained in Baku

Baku, May 24 - On May 23, LGBTQI+ activists in Baku, Azerbaijan, gathered to protest against the recent arrests of several members of the trans community. The detentions occurred on May 22 following confrontations between the police and three trans women in Baku's Khatai district, which were captured on videos that circulated widely on social media.

In the footage, the trans women were seen being detained by the police after an altercation. According to a statement given to Meydan TV by one of the trans activists, the incident stemmed from the alleged disrespect and degradation of the trans women's honour and dignity by the police.

To demand the release of the detained community members, activists advocating for LGBTQI+ rights protested in front of the 37th Police Department in Baku. Amongst the protesters were Ali Malikov, Javid Nabiyev from the Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance, and several others. Shockingly, these activists were also subsequently detained by the police.

Today, according to Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance, LGBTQI+ rights activists Javid Nabiyev, Ali Malikov, and two unidentified individuals were brought to the police department in handcuffs. Witnesses present at the scene reported that Javid Nabiyev faced difficulties during the process, and video evidence indicated the use of force during their detention. 

In a show of solidarity, Faig Alverdiyev, Zaur Askerov, Ali Ahmadov, Orkhan Mammadov, and Seymur Allahverdiyev also gathered in front of the 37th Police Department of the Khatai district to protest the detentions. However, the police described their attempts to voice concerns as leading to a confrontational situation, resulting in their detention and subsequent transfer to the police department.

Meanwhile, LGBTQI+ rights activists from Nafas LGBTI Ali Malikov and Javid Nabiyev, found themselves in an alarming situation as they lack legal representation. Zibeyda Sadigova's assistant has called for the trial to be cancelled, as the defence lawyer war currently engaged in another hearing. 

As the trial for LGBTQI+ rights activists Ali Malikov and Javid Nabiyev continued, the court awaited the arrival of their lawyer. The situation has sparked concerns about the treatment of LGBTQI+ individuals in Azerbaijan and calls for the protection of their rights and dignity.

The activists were released, Ali Malikov was fined 70 AZN under Article 510 for petty hooliganism, while Javid Nabiyev was fined 200 AZN under Article 206 for the unauthorised personal consumption of narcotics. 

Azerbaijan's treatment of LGBTQI+ community has drawn criticism on the international stage. The latest edition of ILGA-Europe's Rainbow Map and Index, which benchmarks LGBTQI+ rights across Europe, ranked Azerbaijan at the bottom with a score of 2%. In their Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex People in Azerbaijan for 2022, released in February, ILGA-Europe highlighted the need for improved legal and policy measures to protect the rights of LGBTQI+s in the country. 

Powered by Froala Editor