It has been reported that police in Azerbaijan are rounding up gay and transgender people and detaining them in the country’s capital Baku.
The reports are alleged to have begun on April 1 and it is believed that the number of people already detained is 14.
One account claims that police are attempting to hunt transgender people using the internet. It is alleged that police deceived a transgender sex worker, inviting them to a hotel.
According to local activists, once the person arrived at the hotel “they pulled out handcuffs” and took the individual to Binagadi District Police Department where all detainees are currently being held.
A source told Gay Star News that they are calling on human rights organisations to help stop this “hunt”.
“We call on [the] EU, Council of Europe and UN Independent Experts to react immediately to avoid these numbers to increase.”
The source also reports that the detainees have been sentenced to 30 days of detention.
The reason for this punishment is not yet known but reports state that authorities have fined some of the detainees under Article 510 of the Code on Administrative Offenses (minor hooliganism).
This is not the first crackdown on LGBT+ people in the post-Soviet country. In 2017, police in Azerbaijan arrested over 60 gay and transgender people, one of whom told The Guardian that he’d been beaten while in custody.
During this crackdown in 2017, Eskhan Zakhidov, a spokesman for the country’s interior ministry, denied that the arrests targeted LGBT people, telling the local APA news agency:
“These raids are not against all sexual minorities. The arrested are people who demonstratively show a lack of respect for those around them, annoy citizens with their behaviour, and also those whom police or health authorities believe to be carriers of infectious diseases.”
ILGA-Europe are extremely concerned about the #detention of at least 14 community members in #Azerbaijan. The persons, perceived by the police as #trans and #gay, were arrested on 1 April due to their alleged sex work and forced to test their #HIV / STI status. pic.twitter.com/dDa0uoQs6E
— ILGA-Europe (@ILGAEurope) April 3, 2019
Homosexuality is not illegal in Azerbaijan, but the topic of homosexuality is taboo and in this year’s ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review, Azerbaijan ranked the worst place in Europe to be gay.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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