Azerbaijan police randomly began detaining LGBTI people on Monday (1 April) night.
LGBTI rights organization Minority Azerbaijan broke the news yesterday (2 April) morning, revealing shocking details of authorities ‘hunting’ transgender people, then handcuffing them and detaining them.
Now they confirm authorities detained at least 14 people and they can identify five.
Authorities fined two of them under Article 510 of the Code on Administrative Offenses – Minor Hooliganism.
While three detainees had official charges under section 535.1 (wilfully not obeying lawful orders of the police officer who engaged protecting of public order) of the Code of Administrative Offences.
Yesterday, the Binagadi District Court in Baku sentenced two detainees with 10 days and another one with 15 days of administrative detention.
Authorities are keeping the detainees in police custody at the Temporary Detention Centers of Police Departments (TDC).
Local sources explain TDCs should only hold people for 48 or 96 hours of detention.
‘Therefore, it is wrong to keep persons who [have been] punished with more than 10 days of administrative detention in the TDC,’ an anonymous source told Gay Star News. ‘From this point of view, the conditions of the victims are inadequate in that place.’
Breaking the law
The source then explained how authorities were illegally detaining LGBTI people.
‘In general, the detainees are considered to be held administratively,’ the local source explained. ‘The law does not specify the compulsory examination of persons held in an administrative if it’s not a criminal case.’
Authorities are also breaking the law in another way, with forced medical examinations of people living with HIV.
The source continued: ‘The law… states that medical examinations to persons living with HIV cannot be accomplished by physical, psychological or moral pressure.
‘But, when an HIV [positive] person posing a threat of infecting others or their legal representative does not agree to a medical examination, the medical examination for HIV-infected person is compulsory by court order in the manner prescribed by law,’ the source explained.
According to eyewitness testimony, detainees did not receive any official request or signed paper before they had to undergo medical examinations.
‘There was no court decision that justifies the examinations,’ the source said. ‘Therefore, under current conditions forced medical examination is not lawful.’
What’s going on in Azerbaijan?
One report claims police are trying to ‘hunt’ transgender people via the internet. Police allegedly deceived a transgender sex worker, inviting them to a hotel to provide sex services.
Upon the trans person’s arrival to the meeting place, ‘they pulled out handcuffs’ and took the trans person to the police station, according to local activists.
Similar reports of authorities in Azerbaijan randomly detaining LGBTI people emerged in September 2017.
Eyewitness reports at the time claimed authorities detained LGBTI people, beat, verbally abused and forced medical examinations on transgender people. Some reports even suggest authorities shaved the hair of transgender women.
One gay man told how authorities beat, electrocuted and detained him for nine days.
The man – known only as Xeyal – said authorities beat with a baton on the head, knees, and arms. They also administered electric shocks to his head and body more than 30 times.
Police also tortured Xeyal into revealing names of former sexual partners. They then forced him to sign documents without reading them.
Azerbaijan is actually getting worse when it comes to LGBTI rights.
A ranking of 141 countries around the world found social attitudes to LGBTI people in Azerbaijan are declining, making it the worst performing country.
Although same-sex sexual activity is technically legal, Azerbaijan lags behind in anti-discrimination laws, parenting rights for same-sex couples, transgender rights and same-sex marriage.