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Gay man, 20, hangs himself with rainbow flag in Azerbaijan

Gay man, 20, hangs himself with rainbow flag in Azerbaijan

A 20-year-old gay man killed himself in Azerbaijan yesterday (22 January).

Isa Shakhmarli was the chairman of Azerbaijan’s Free LGBT group, a Baku-based campaigning charity aiming to improve the lives of the community in the capital.

He was discovered dead after reportedly hanging himself using the rainbow-colored flag.

On his Facebook page, Shakhmarli wrote: ‘I am leaving you. God bless you. This country and this world are not for me.

‘I am going to be happy now. Tell my mother I loved her very much. I blame you all for my death.

‘This world is not colorful enough for my colors. Farewell.’

A video posted online showed medics at the scene trying, and failing, to resuscitate Shakhmarli as friends wept in the background.

A torn rainbow flag is seen hanging from the ceiling.

In an interview published late last year, Shakhmarli said LGBT Azerbaijan people struggle because it is a homophobic, strict Muslim country and many cannot find a job. This means 90% are forced to remain closeted.

He also said his family could not accept his sexuality.

 ‘Though psychologists explained it to my family, they still call it an illness.’ Shakhmarli said, adding it is the family that isthe most common reason for LGBT people to commit suicide.

When asked about his hopes, Shakhmari said: ‘I wish our society was not biased. Before hating, read about homosexuality on the internet, learn about it. Then you can be free to hate after it.

‘I want LGBTs to be brave. I live separately from my family in my own house, I have my own job, I can do everything myself.

‘If you want, you can achieve.’