Central PA's LGBT News Source

At least 100 detained

Police arrest dozens of gay Azerbaijanis

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Police have detained dozens of gay and transsexual people in Azerbaijan following a number of raids around Baku, with reports of torture and beatings, local LGBT activists have reported, reports Bradley Jardine for Caucasus Chronicles.

It's unclear what prompted the roundup, or how many people have been affected. Lawyers working on the cases say that at least 100 people have been detained over a period of several days.

"Suddenly, without any clear reasons to us, police officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs organized raids against gay and transsexual people,” said Javid Nabiyev, the president of the Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance, in a message published on September 22.

Nabiyev said that the raids took place in private homes and public places where gay people are known to congregate. Some of those detained have been forced to inform on their friends. Family members and lawyers have been denied access to the detainees.

Civil Rights Defenders

The Sweden-based human rights group Civil Rights Defenders spoke to several activists in Baku on condition of anonymity.

"Activists report that the detainees were subjected to beatings, verbal abuse, and forced medical examinations, as well as transsexual women’s heads being forcibly shaven," the group said in a statement. "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. An undetermined number of those detained have been sentenced to either 20 or 30 days of administrative detention."

Police have said that the detentions are unrelated to the sexual orientation of the detainees and accuse them of being engaged in prostitution.

According to official statements, police officers detained people after receiving complaints of prostitution. The statements say the measures were taken in full accordance with Azerbaijani law.

The EU Parliament passed a resolution on Azerbaijan in 2015, condemning its treatment of human rights defenders and said it was extremely concerned over the situation of LGBTI people.