Azerbaijan police in the country’s capital Baku are reportedly rounding up gay and transgender people and detaining them.
According to reports from unnamed LGBTI people in Baku, the random arrests started last night (1 April). Police later took the detainees to the Binagadi District Police Department.
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.
A source told Gay Star News the number of detained people is already at 14.
‘I just got information that they were sentenced for 30 days of detention,’ the source revealed.
They then added: ‘We call on [the] EU, Council of Europe and UN Independent Experts to react immediately to avoid these numbers to increase.’
The reason for the detention is unknown. Although reports detail authorities fined some of the detainees under Article 510 of the Code on Administrative Offenses (minor hooliganism).
More information to follow.
Azerbaijan: History of human rights abuses
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, as well as electric shocks to his head and body more than 30 times.
They also tortured Xeyal into revealing names of former sexual partners, as well as 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.