The new Chechnya? 100 gay and transgender people reportedly arrested and tortured in Azerbaijan

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

At least 100 gay and transgender people have been arrested, tortured and beaten in Azerbaijan, according to local reports.

Police conducted a number of raids in the capital of Baku and forced those who they arrested to give up their friends’ addresses, activists have said.

Some of those detained have reportedly had their heads shaved.

(Wikimedia Commons)
(Wikimedia Commons)

The arrests are horribly reminiscent of the gay purge in Chechnya, in which more than 100 people have been detained, abused and, in at least 26 cases, killed.

Police have said that their actions have nothing to do with anyone’s sexual orientation and accused the detainees of being engaged in prostitution, according to media site Eurasianet.

Other reports from inside the country state that the raids were carried out in the name of “protecting national moral values.”

Ayaz Efendiyev, deputy chairman of the Justice Party, responded to the reported arrests with a prejudice-filled diatribe.

“Defending these creatures who are sources of immorality, dangerous diseases, and who have been cursed by God, Western circles are trying to destroy our national traditions under the name of ‘human rights,’” he said.

Azerbaijan has a poor record when it comes to protecting LGBT people.

This year, it was rated as the worst place in Europe for LGBT rights, with a 5 percent score compared to the UK’s 76 percent.

In 2015, the European Parliament voted to condemn the “intimidation and repression” of LGBTI people in the country.

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