Azerbaijan is a country located below Russia. It is far from being a welcoming country for LGBT people. It is now the worst country in LGBT rights. Homosexuality has been legal since 2000 but oppression and violence are widespread.
For now, I don't know how many people the police arrested. This is the kind of information that is hard to get.
According to local reports, the police reportedly carried out many raids, especially in Baku, the capital of the country. It arrested and tortured at least one hundred LGBT people.
Police said the arrests had nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity. It says it is fighting prostitution.
But other reports from inside the country state that the raids were carried out in the name of “protecting national moral values.” And when they start talking about "moral values", it's never good for us.
The deputy chairman of the Justice Party, Ayaz Efendiyev, said "these creatures are sources of immorality, dangerous diseases, and have been cursed by God. Western circles are trying to destroy our national traditions under the name of ‘human rights'."
They started by arresting transgender sex workers, then their friends. They raided clubs. In fact, they arrest an LGBT person and try to find all her friends thanks to smartphones for example.
I know some of them are still detained. Those who were arrested were also beaten and some of them underwent medical examinations. And for transgender women, it's terrible! They shaved their heads off!
Javid Nabiyev, president of the prominent Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance, recommends:
- To be careful
- Not having new dates
- Not mentioning your sexual orientation and gender identity with people you don't know well
- Not answering unknown phone calls
- and staying in the shadows for a while.
Also, don't hang out in LGBT places (clubs, bars,…). They are now the favorite targets of the police.