• Javid Nabiyev is a member of the Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance and is now based in Germany. (Facebook/Javid Nabiyev)
Members of the LGBT+ community report that they have been approached online by fake profiles as a way to track them down.
By
Michaela Morgan

29 Sep 2017 - 2:49 PM  UPDATED 29 Sep 2017 - 2:49 PM

It was reported earlier this week that police in Azerbaijan had arrested and tortured over 100 members of the LGBT+ community. 

Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance has now released further details of their correspondence with victims who have been targeted by officials in the country. 

In a report prepared by the organisation, one man describes how he was beaten and detained for his “feminine” look. 

“I was with my friend in the Old City. Suddenly police officers came to us, put us in car and took us to police station in Nasimi District," he says.

“I’m a feminine-looking guy, and that’s probably why they [took] me. I had a two-day detention.

“During these two days, three police officers beat me so badly, I lost my consciousness.”

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Nefes has also provided screenshots from an online chat with someone claiming to be a trans woman. During the exchange, they continually ask if the person they’re chatting to is a lesbian and that the recent news about police arrests was “all fake”. 

When the responder raises questions about their authenticity, the fake profile becomes enraged and threatens: “We can find you”. 

Another victim says their door was beaten down by authorities on September 20. 

“We did not open the door, and after half an hour our friend, who was in prison, called by phone. Then the door was knocked again," they recall.

“When I looked through the peephole, I saw my friend and some policemen. They took my friend, and we were captured too.

“They beat me. The police told me that I was doing prostitution, and I must give them information about clients."

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The report also claims that victims were beaten, verbally abused and had their heads shaved while in detention. 

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Affairs has stated that “sex minority members have never been persecuted” but that “they are not exempt from liability for unlawful acts”, claiming that members of the LGBT+ community had unlawfully engaged in sex work and had “violated public order”. 

Nefes notes that there are currently four lawyers working voluntarily on cases for the victims and is raising funds to mount legal challenges.