Couple says the police haven't considered the complaint

On February 14, Ravan Nasimi and his partner were celebrating Valentine's Day and made a small video and shared the video only for close friends. Someone of their friends downloaded the video and sent it to various groups. Currently, instagram and facebook pages are sharing the video and encouraging people to spread hate speech. Below the shared video in the comments section, Ravan and his lover are threatened with death. The couple's life is in danger right now. 

Ravan is a homosexual who lives in Ganja and is open to his family and friends. His family and friends have accepted him and supported him. According to him, for several years in Ganja he has been involved in educating people on LGBTQ issues. At the same time, he has never given up on moral support for LGBTQ victims who have been facing violence by their families. 

According to Ravan, the situation is so severe that they do not walk on the streets nor use public transportation to get anywhere. "We take a taxi and wear a medical mask on our face," Ravan added. There is also psychological pressure on them at work. His partner was fired and is now unemployed. And the collective's attitude has changed towards Ravan.

“Our psychological state is worse. We can't sleep, we stand upright for every doorknock. We look around when we walk on the streets. We are scared a lot.” - Ravan said while describing their current situation.

The couple appealed to the police on Feb. 14 about the video spread on social media and comments. “During the day the situation worsened, death threats increased, and we complained to the police.” - says Ravan. At the police station, the police received statements and comments from them, and the couple were told that the police can not be involved in this matter. “The police told us we needed to appeal to the court.” - says Ravan. “It was also noted that court cases in this regard do not give positive results. We will just ‘lose time’ and break ourselves.” - he added. 

Some comments on social media states the couple lives in the center of Ganja. Shares and comments calling for hate speech and hate crime are trying to figure out their whereabouts. “In general, our team of 60 people at my work place is aware of the issue, including homophobic ones, and many of them know where we live, which scares me more.” - says Ravan. 

Potential disclosure of their addresses by coworkers puts them at greater risk. The couple is trying to change where they live as soon as possible. “We will get our documents and run to Baku. It is relatively safe there.” - Ravan added. 

According to the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Index published in 2019, Azerbaijan is the worst country in Europe for LGBTIs. In 2014, a gay rights activist committed suicide by hanging himself with a rainbow flag due to public phobia and hatred towards LGBTIs. Samad Ismayilov, editor of the Minority magazine, told Meydan TV that dozens of individuals are trying to commit suicide for their sexual orientation of in Azerbaijan.

In 2019, Elina Hajiyeva was a victim of hate crime and committed suicide by throwing herself out of a school window. During her studies at school, Elina was subjected to various insults and abuse by being assumed as a lesbian.

During the last years, in 2017 and 2019, there were police hunts for LGBTI people in Azerbaijan, and dozens of people were arrested, raped, humiliated and tortured by the police during raids.