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.