The massive detention raids of gay and transgender citizen were triggered by citizens’ complaints that people with non-traditional sexual orientation and gender identity are engaged in prostitution, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has stated.
“In our country, sex minority members have never been persecuted. However, they are not exempt from liability for unlawful acts. Recently, people of non-traditional sexual orientation engaged in prostitution regularly gather in the central city and violate public order. Citizens repeatedly appealed to the police with a request to stop such illegal actions. In this regard, the police have taken measures” a MIA source told the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent, adding that all the detainees were released from police stations.
However, he did not name the exact number of detainees, citing the lack of such information. “These were not arrests, but short-term detentions. All the detainees were brought to administrative responsibility and released from the police stations “said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
One opposition party is on record supporting the mass arrests: Ayaz Efendiyev of the Justice Party called for the operations to continue, adding, “Defending these creatures who are sources of immorality, dangerous diseases, and who have been cursed by God, Western circles are trying to destroy our national traditions under the name of ‘human rights,”
Determining the exact number of arrests has been difficult, as many of the detained have not wished to speak with anyone outside of the local LGBTI community out of fear of further punishment. To minimize the risk and to get more information based on real participants of the process, we created anonym survey form.
Detainees were subjected to beatings, verbal abuse, and forced medical examinations. as well as transsexual women’s heads being forcibly shaved. Many were released only after giving up the addresses of fellow members of the LGBTI community, who were then in turn arrested and subjected to the same treatment.
Ministry of Internal Affairs has said that their actions have nothing to do with anyone’s sexual orientation and accused the detainees of being engaged in prostitution. Our resources which directly affected on raids say that, so many people have been arrested during the daytime, with a concept of “that person might be a gay”. 18th of September one gay person kidnapped at his working place by police. Several people detained in public area during daytime. Police released those people after taking from them money.
|Note of the victim B: I was with my friend in Old Town. Suddenly police officers came to us and to put us in the car and took to the police station in Nasimi District. Probably I’m a feminine looking guy and that’s why they could recognize me. I had 2-day detention. During these 2 days, 3 police officers were beating me so badly, even I lost my consciousness.|
Detained once forced by torturing to give the contacts, addresses of their gay, transsexual friends. Police organized raids on private locations.
|Note of the victim D: The door was beaten on the 20th of September, we did not open the door, and after half an hour our friend, who was now in prison, called by phone. Then the door was knocked again. When I watched on peephole I saw my friend and some policemen. They took my friend and we were captured too. They were beating me. The police told me that I’m doing prostitution and I must give them information about clients. I said I’m not a sex worker.|
After identifying that some of them living in rented apartments, police officers contacted Landlords and those people kicked out by landlords and now some of them are homeless.
Note: This report covering the first information background regarding police raids in Baku. Activist, lawyers working on second part of the report. To get detailed information about the report, CLICK HERE.