Annual Review 2011
Bias motivated violence
Throughout 2011, several cases of homophobic and transphobic violence were reported.
- In March, a gay man arranged a meeting through a dating site, only to have two men come to his apartment, assault, beat and rob him. In May, another man reported a similar incident. In both occasions, criminal cases were filed in Baku.
- In May, a transsexual sex worker was attacked at her home and stabbed 11 times. The attacker was sentenced to eight years in prison. During the trial the victim’s name and gender identity were regularly made public, and ANS TV (a privately owned independent television channel) alone revealed the victim’s identity five times. This happened despite legal provisions prohibiting such invasions of privacy. As a result of the publication of the victim’s trans identity, the person was subsequently evicted by the landlord.
- In August, a gay man was attacked when leaving a bar, severely beaten and assaulted, and then robbed. He was left bleeding on the street. A criminal case was fi led in the Sabail police station.
- In October, a gay man was invited to the house of someone he met on the Internet. Upon arrival he found three people instead of the one he expected. He was assaulted, raped and robbed. A criminal case was lodged in Binagadi District Court.
- In November, a gay man was attacked in his apartment and stabbed in the carotid artery, putting him in intensive care. The case was widely covered in the media which repeatedly showed his identity card and made reference to his sexual orientation. At the end of the year the trial was still ongoing.
Freedom of expression
Eurovision 2011 was won by Azerbaijan and therefore Eurovision 2012 will be held in Baku. This drew attention from many outside Azerbaijan concerned about the situation for the LGBT community within the country.
- In August, Gender and Development launched a project linked to the Eurovision Song Contest, as the organisation considered that an imprecise picture of the situation of the LGBT community had been given in the European media. In September, Gender and Development held a press conference in the Azerbaijan Media Center at which they highlighted the inaccurate coverage of the situation for LGBT people in Azerbaijan and announced a competition to fi nd the best article about the situation of LGBT people in the country. This led to a number of interviews and videos of public fi gures and human rights defenders giving their opinions on the LGBT community in the country. The Chairperson of Gender and Development was interviewed by the German office of EuroNews and the Norwegian state broadcaster during a visit connected to the Eurovision, a variety of articles were published in European media, and a meeting was held with Ulrike Lunacek MEP and Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights.
Together with the Ministry of Health and the AIDS Centre, Gender and Development carried out epidemiological and behavioural research with men who have sex with men using respondent driven sampling among 300 people in three cities. Results are expected in 2012.
Police and law enforcement
- Gender and Development reported that there are regular reports of police raiding places where gay men and transsexual sex workers gather and arresting them on the basis of maintenance of public order, then detaining them for 15 days or asking for bribes for immediate release.
- In August, a gay man agreed to meet up in a café with a young man whom he had met over the Internet. After a while the police came to the table and asked the men to go to the Police Station where they found drugs on the young man and accused the gay man of selling them to him, something he vehemently denied. The young man claimed that he had bought drugs from the gay man he had met in the café. The police then blackmailed the gay man stating that they would tell his parents he was gay and a drug dealer if he did not pay them.