Overview of May and June attacks
There have been a series of attacks on the LGBTI+ community in Azerbaijan in recent weeks. The attacks were mainly reported by Minority Azerbaijan. However, at the same time, several other media platforms covered the issue after the pressure from human rights defenders and activists on social media.
The first attack in May happened in one the central streets of Baku on the night of 30 May. The perpetrator who attacked a trans man named Herman, insulted him, punched him and hit him with a glass bottle, cutting his hand. The victim managed to escape and run home to save himself.
Herman complained to law enforcement about the attack and demanded that the incident be investigated and the perpetrator brought to justice. Hermana, who filed a complaint to the 102 service after the attack, the Sabail District 9th Police Department has not yet submitted a referral for a medical examination. “Herman testified at the Sabail District Police Station No. 9 on June 17, and according to the law, a referral for a medical examination was required immediately” - said Jala Bayramova, the lawyer of Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance. However, 6 days have passed since the testimony. The victim also complained to the Sabail District Prosecutor's Office, and on June 19, was called to the unit by Mushfig Gozalov Mikayil oglu, the deputy chief of police station No. 9. Lawyer Jala Bayramova said that the refusal of investigator Elmar Mammadov to send him for a medical examination was not based on any law and expressed transphobia of police departments. In addition to that, the investigator repeatedly addressed the victim as "Mrs.", despite the objections of the lawyer and the victim himself.
The next attack took place on May 31 in the Yasamal district of Baku. Two unknown people first verbally abused a gay man and hinted at his appearance. Then one of the perpetrators hit the victim in the arm with a glass of wine, and after he lost his balance and fell to the ground, unknown perpetrators left the scene. The victim complained to law enforcement agencies about the incident and demanded an investigation.
On June 2, an attack on a gay man took place in the Shamakhinka area of Baku. The victim said that the attacker first followed him, then approached him and demanded him to "be like a man" and "not to walk swaying." As a result of the argument, the assailant scratched the victim's arm from the top to the wrist with a cutting tool he took out of his pocket. After the victim's resistance, the violent man left the scene. The victim complained to law enforcement agencies about the incident and demanded the accused to be punished.
On June 4, a gay couple living in Baku's Yasamal district were attacked by neighbours in a homophobic attack. In the evening, for about half an hour, they heard a loud knock on the door of their house, but they did not make any noises as they were afraid.
The couple said they were first verbally and then physically assaulted by neighbours on their way to a store in their area on June 5. Eight people blocked the couple and made homophobic remarks, criticising their clothes and lifestyle. One of them later threatened to stab the victims if they would return home in the evening. The couple managed to record the attack.
The victims complained to the 28th police station. They also provided video evidence to the police. Police told the victims that the matter would be investigated.
On the night of June 8, a trans woman was attacked in Baku. Trans sex worker was beaten by a client in a hotel room in Chinarli hotel. The victim and her friend complained to the police and went to the Republican Hospital. According to them, doctors refused to accept the victim and sent her to Sabuncu hospital. They faced the same transphobic behaviours at Sabunchu hospital. An emergency worker at Sabunchu Hospital refused to treat the trans woman, hid and did not provide the MRI disc and diagnosis taken at the Neurosurgery Hospital. Only two days after the incident, MRI results were obtained, which show that the victim's skull was injured and dented inward in the forehead part. Lawyer Jala Bayramova said that a complaint had been filed against health workers, but no action had been taken by the relevant agencies.
A few days later, the victim and her friends were forcibly evicted from their homes by police without being able to take anything from the house. The landlord told the victims by telephone that he had been forced to evict trans women as the officers from the 21st police station ordered him to do so. Although the victims complained to the Ombudsman's Office, the Ombudsman did not meet with them. According to lawyer Bayramova, both the apartment and property rights of the victims were violated. 2,300 manat belonging to one of them was stolen from the house, and they were able to take their belongings from the house only a day later.
According to Bayramova, there are currently eight complaints from the community filed to the police. After the attacks on the community in late May and early June, all the victims complained to the police about the violations.
Herman and Parviz gave an interview to abzas.net about the incidents. The interview, shared on Facebook, contained more than a thousand hate speech and threatening to kill them. Both Herman and Parviz are preparing to file a complaint against them for threats and hate speech on social media.
The local media remained silent for a long time amid the attacks. Rights defender Leyla Hasanova called this silence "LGBTIQ+ phobic silence". Hasanova also spoke about the media and the silence in general: “You do not want to seem, nor talk about their (ed. the community) mourning and what happened to them at the level they deserve. You are distorting the reality of LGBTQ+s,” - she said.
Human rights defender Vahid Aliyev also wrote for OC-Media about the silence of the media. He called the media's silence a "spiral of silence." Aliyev said: "To end the spiral of silence and the violence that it fosters, the media must embrace its role as the fourth estate, and give voice to that which is heretofore unheard (ed. LGBTI+ s)."
It should be noted that, ILGA-Europe published the annual Rainbow Europe Map and Index on May 17, which ranks the legal and political status of LGBTI + in 49 European countries. According to the map and index, Azerbaijan ranks last among 49 countries.
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