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Azerbaijan: Scale of LGBT Persecution Is Rising – Lawyer

Activists protest LGBT rights violations in Azerbaijan during a 2015 rally in Germany. At least 100 LGBT people have reportedly been arrested in a wave of police raids in Azerbaijan since September 15. (Photo: Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance)

On September 22, a 19-year-old man, an aspiring fashion designer who currently works in a cosmetics shop, was walking in the center of Baku. Another man – young, good-looking and well dressed – approached him and tried to start a conversation.
 
“He pretended to be gay and told me he had an apartment nearby, and invited me there,” said the designer, who asked that his name not be used. “At first I tried to ignore him, but he was persistent and eventually I admitted that I was gay.” As soon as he did that, the designer recounted to EurasiaNet.org, another man appeared and the two grabbed him by the arms, pushed him into a car, and took him to the police station. After 12 hours of detention, he was forced to sign documents that he was not allowed to read, and to pay a fine of 150 manats (about $88).
 
Since then he stopped going to work and walking outside alone or after the dark. “The police warned me that next time they see me they’ll arrest me again,” he said. “I’ve become paranoid, if someone is just looking at me, I’ll walk the other way.”
 

To read the full story

Durna Safarova is a freelance journalist who covers Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan: Scale of LGBT Persecution Is Rising – Lawyer

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