Javid Nabiyev shared alarming mistreatment by Azerbaijani police: “My fight continues”

Javid Nabiyev, an LGBTQI+ activist has revealed a harrowing account of mistreatment and abuse endured at the hands of the Azerbaijani police on his Instagram post. He spoke out about his personal experiences of discrimination and violence, shedding light on the systemic prejudice faced by the LGBTQI+ community in the country.

Recalling past encounters with the police, Nabiyev shared a particularly disturbing incident in 2014, when he was subjected to violence solely because of his gay identity. However, his resilience and hope for a brighter future led him to return to Azerbaijan, driven by the activism of activists like Ali Malikov and Avaz Hafizli.

Upon his return, Nabiyev found hilmself arrested once again, this time as punishment for raising the voice of his community. He described a nightmarish night spent in police custody, marked by degrading and dehumanising treatment.

“I witnessed police officers using napkin to touch the door handle after we did.”

Amongst the distressing experiences he recounted were witnessing police officers using napkins to avoid touching the same surfaces as LGBTQI+s, observing a fellow police officer being attacked by other officers, and being forced to prove his innocence by physically demonstrating the absence of a hidden razor under his tongue. 

“I was forced to undergo analyses without a court order, based on the mentality that ‘LGBTI+ is a source of diseases’.”

Javid Nabiyev further highlighted the violation of his rights, as he was subjected to medical tests without a court order, solely based on the misguided belief that being LGBTQI+ makes one a source of diseases. He was handcuffed as if he had committed a severe crime and was paraded around as objects of ridicule within the police department. Shockingly, police officers took pictures and videos of the activist to share with their friends, boasting about their detention of LGBTQI+s.

My fight is justified. This time, you won’t be able to kill that flame inside me! I am proud, I am resilient! Instead, I am filled with anger! My fight continues, saying, ‘You won’t be free until we are free’.”

Nabiyev expressed his anger and determination to continue the fight for equality and justice, despite the mistreatment he has endured. He refuses to let the flame of resilience be extinguished and vows to persist until freedom and equal rights are achieved for the LGBTQI+ community in Azerbaijan.

The revelations made by LGBTQI+ rights defender highlighted the urgent need for comprehensive reforms within the Azerbaijani police force and the protection of LGBTQI+s from discrimination and violence. LGBTQI+ rights organisations, such as ILGA-Europe and RFSL  and LGBTQI+ rights defenders showed solidarity with the detained activists and supported their calls for justice and equality in Azerbaijan. 

LGBTI+ activist details mistreatment and trauma

LGBTI+ activist, Ali Malikov who was recently detained in Baku, Azerbaijan, has taken to social media to share distressing details about the treatment endured during their detention. Malikov, who was amongst the activists protesting the arrests of trans community members, described a harrowing experience lasting over 20 hours.

In their tweet, Malikov revealed that their detention involved physical contact, threats, and confinement in a small, airless room. They recounted the presence of two other individuals – Aleksandra and Shabnam, one of whom appeared to have been subjected to sexual abuse. The activist expressed deep concern for the well-being of those affected.

Although Malikov and fellow activist Javid Nabiyev were fined 70 AZN and 300 AZN, respectively, they were not immediately released. Instead, they were forcefully returned to the cramped room where they had been held. The police allegedly pushed and hit them, exacerbating an already distressing situation. Malikov tearfully recounted enduring torture alongside other detainees throughout the day.

The police proceeded to release of Ali and Javid, while others were detained for 15 administrative days. The police brought the released individuals face-to-face with those still detained, seemingly intending to traumatise both parties. Malikov interpreted this action as a deliberate attempt to instil fear and distress.

The accounts shared by Malikov shed light on the alleged mistreatment and trauma experienced by LGBTI+ activists during their detention. These revelations have further intensifies concerns about the treatment of LGBTI+s in Azerbaijan and raises urgent calls for the protection of their rights and dignity.

LGBTI+ activists detained in Baku faced accusations of administrative offences

After the detention of LGBTI+ human rights defenders in front of the 37th Police Department in Baku, new information about their legal situation has been released. According to the information provided by journalist Nurlan Libre, Javid Nabiyev, Ali Malikov and two other unidentified people were brought to the police department in handcuffs. They were treated as criminals despite the fact that they had not been involved in any actual wrongdoing. 

Witnesses present in front of the police department said that Javid Nabiyev faced difficulties during the process. Video evidence also showed that force was used during their detention. The protocol with Article 510 was prepared against Ali Malikov from Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance. 

In addition, Faig Alverdiyev, Zaur Askerov, Ali Ahmadov, Orkhan Mammadov and Seymur Allahverdiyev gathered in front of the 37th Police Department of Khatai region and protested the arrest of their comrades. Their attempts to voice their concerns were described by the police as ‘leading to a confrontational situation when they raised their voices and argued with police officers’. As a result, they were detained and brought to the police department.

According to the information provided by journalist Nurlan Libre, service protocols were drawn up and sent to the court, including Article 510 (petty hooliganism) of the Code of Administrative Offences. 

LGBTQI+ rights activists protest against the arrests of trans community members

Today, on May 23, LGBTQI+ activists gathered to protest against the recent arrests of a trans community members.

On May 22, videos circulated on social media showing confrontations between the police and three trans individuals in Baku’s Xetai district.

The footage depicted the trans individuals being detained after an altercation with the police. According to a statement given to Meydan TV by one of the trans activists, the incident on May 22 was sparked by the police’s alleged disrespect and degradation of the trans community’s honour and dignity.

In demand for the release of the detained individuals, activists advocating for LGBTQ+ rights gathered in front of the 37th Police Department. Among them were activists from Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance Ali Malikov, Javid Nabiyev, and several others, who were also subsequently detained by the police.

Meydan TV/Protest by activists

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has confirmed that an investigation into the incident is underway, according to a statement given to Meydan TV.

Lawyer Zibeyde Sadigova stated that Javid Nabiyev and Ali Malikov, who were detained in front of the 37th Police Department in Xetai district, are currently being held at the 36th Police Department.

No specific reasons for their arrest have been provided by the police department. 

Facing the State: Police Departments and LGBTQ+s

“Facing the State: Police Departments and LGBTQ+s” film presentation by Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance concluded the May 17 – IDAHOBIT Week with events that reflect the reality in the country.

As part of our event, a screening of the film, which covers the experiences of LGBTI+ community in the police departments in Azerbaijan, took place with the financial support of Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance. The film was prepared through a small grants competition under the program “LGBTI+s Demand: Mental Health and Justice.”

Following the film, guests, social workers, activists, and psychologists analysed the legal problems faced by LGBTI+ citizens.

How IDAHOBIT celebrated in 2014?

How Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance celebrated IDAHOBIT in 2014

In 2014, Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands, organised a significant event to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia – IDAHOBIT. Taking place at Gobustan, one of Azerbaijan’s oldest human settlements, the gathering aimed to challenge prejudice within Azerbaijani society and debunk the notion that LGBTI+ rights are a “European import.” Under the theme “We are as old as Gobustan!” participants highlighted the historical presence of LGBTI+ communities in the region.

The event commenced with a spirited “March for Equality” towards the historic site, where colourful balloons were released into the sky, and rainbow flags proudly waved. Members of the LGBTI+ community, along with their allies, came together to denounce homophobia and transphobia, demonstrate unity, and advocate for equality and an end to anti-LGBTI+ violence.

This symbolic gathering at Gobustan served as a reminder that the LGBTI+ community is an integral part of Azerbaijani society, and their rights and contributions should be acknowledged and celebrated. 

IDAHOBIT – International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia celebrates the theme: “Together Always: United in Diversity“.

In recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on May 17th, the global LGBTI+ community comes together under this year’s theme of “Together Always: United in Diversity.” The theme was carefully selected through extensive consultations with LGBTI+ organisations worldwide, aiming to foster advocacy, celebration, and a sense of unity among communities.

The chosen theme emphasises the importance of solidarity and allyship across identities, movements, and borders. It acknowledges the increasing threats faced by LGBTI+ communities worldwide and underscores the need to protect hard-won achievements and promote equality. By uniting in support of diversity, people can make a real difference in the lives of LGBTI+s and communities.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia has been celebrated annually since 2004. It originated as a tribute to the World Health Organization’s momentous decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Each year, the day focuses on a specific theme to raise awareness and address the challenges faced by LGBTI+s globally.

The announcement by may17.org, the platform that coordinates worldwide IDAHOBIT celebrations, stated: 

“We are delighted to declare that the 2023 edition of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia will center around the theme ‘Always Together: United in Diversity.’ This theme, determined through extensive consultations with LGBTQIA+ organizations worldwide, will empower human rights advocates, LGBTQIA+ civil society groups, community members, and allies to engage in various forms of advocacy and celebration.”

As LGBTI+ communities confront mounting challenges, including the rollback of rights and increasing discrimination, this year’s theme highlights the significance of unity and support. The power of community, solidarity, and the recognition of diverse identities are critical in fostering positive change globally.

Today, individuals and organisations around the world will commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia. Through events, discussions, and awareness campaigns, they will stand in solidarity, amplify LGBTI+ voices, and reaffirm their commitment to creating a world that celebrates diversity, equality, and inclusivity.

We, as the Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance, have also prepared a series of podcasts in relation to this significant day:

On this significant day, let us join forces, celebrate our beautiful diversity, and work together to create a more inclusive and accepting society for all. Happy May 17th: Together, United in Diversity!

Unemployed Trans People

As the Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance, we are publishing the second podcast of the week starting with our slogan “Justice and Protection for All”. We have discussed the participation of trans people in the labour market and their experiences in the workplace with our volunteer Alvi and trans rights activist Vüsalə Hacıyeva.

The podcast also calls for solidarity in the fight against the challenges faced by trans people in the labour market.

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow of the LGBTQI+ Movement in Azerbaijan

As the Nafas LGBT Alliance, we continue our “Justice and Protection for Everyone!” campaign with our podcast during the week of May 17th. Our volunteer Rza and queer activists Cavid Nəbiyev and Əli Məlikov have prepared an episode together.

Listen and share our discussion that covers the history of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in Azerbaijan, LGBTQI+ activism today, our past, and our future expectations. We also talked about the history of Nafas LGBTI in our episode. 

Rainbow Map and Index 2023

For over a decade, ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map and Index has been a crucial tool for benchmarking LGBTQI+ rights across Europe. In the present edition, Malta continues to hold the number one spot, while Azerbaijan ranks last with a score of 2%. 

Rainbow Map and Index

The Rainbow Map uses 74 criteria across seven categories, including equality, family, and asylum. Throughout the year, relevant data sets are collected and verified with LGBTI human rights defenders, researchers, lawyers, and other experts from the 49 countries of Europe. The map and index are updated and launched during the IDAHOT Forum, an annual intergovernmental focal point meeting of the Council of Europe about LGBTI rights. 

The Rainbow Map and Index offer an accurate and evolving picture of what LGBTI people need and what matters to the lives of people in different parts of LGBTI communities across Europe. Countries expanding their legislative horizons are moving up in the ranking.

ILGA-Europe released their Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex People in Azerbaijan for the year 2022 in February. The report examines the progress made in Azerbaijan towards improving the legal and policy situation of LGBTQI+s and provides concrete examples of on-the-ground situations at the national level.

The report recommends the establishment of an equality body with an explicit mandate on SOGIESC grounds, the development of equality action plans that include all SOGIESC grounds, and the inclusion of all SOGIESC grounds in legislation prohibiting discrimination in health, employment, education, and goods and services.