Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance has conducted an observation in the social networks in which Azerbaijani LGBT people are active. Observations carried out by our alliance and appeals received showed that, the number of people introducing themselves as members/employees of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of National Security of Azerbaijan Republic is increasing.
Those people, who by their words are employees of the government structures stated above, target homosexual people (mainly – gay, lesbian and bisexuals) in social networks.
Those people, as a group of 2-3 persons, pretend to be homosexual and start collecting personal information about “the victim” that they pre-define in advance through online conversations. Once, they get telephone number of the “victim”, they start collaborating even further. We think that, some employees of different mobile communication operators and banks are also member of that hooligan group. Because, it would be almost impossible to gather so much information about the person without having an access to bank or mobile phone database.
Once, sufficient information is gathered about “victim”, one of the group members call “victim” and introduce himself as officer of Ministry of Internal Affairs or Ministry of National Security, and tell to “victim” that he knows that he/she is gay, and that he even knows his/her address and states that he is now registered in the police department as gay. Besides that, they demand for money in order to keep it secret and not to send a notification letter to his home address disclosing their sexual orientation. They ask for 150 – 200 manats for their silence. Our research showed that the group members generally arrange appointments in Nesimi discrict, Baku (Genjlik metro st.) to collect money they asked. “Victims” of the blackmailing are generally afraid to go to police either, because of the negative attitude of the police to LGBT people.
Azerbaijan Republic Legislation does not compromise any sexual discrimination, and after Azerbaijan Republic became member of EU, Azerbaijan Parliament ratified changes to the law on homosexuality ( January 17th, 2001). However, failure of implementation of laws results in LGBT people being not so keen on openly ask police to intervene in those situations.
Nəfəs LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance condemns that situation. Sexual discrimination, persecution of people’s personal life’s due to their sexual orientation, intimidation of those are absolutely unacceptable. People are free to choose their lifestyles and this cannot be limited by or any 2nd or 3rd party, neither police nor any other government source. The fact that those hooligan group introduce themselves as officers of Ministry of Internal Affairs or Ministry of National Safety is not only abuse of authority of some people, it also harm the reputation of Police and National Security agents reputation. Therefore, we call for those ministries stated above to investigate those cases and find out groups that introduce themselves as police/national security agent and provide for criminal liability in accordance with law.