UN experts are urging Azerbaijani authorities to investigate reports of human rights abuses against gay and transgender people that included arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment, torture, and forced medical examinations while in detention.
“We are deeply disturbed by a series of police raids launched since mid-September in the capital, Baku, leading to the arrest and detention of more than 80 people perceived to be gay, transgender or whom the authorities have alleged are involved in sex work,” an October 13 statement from the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) quoted the experts as saying.
Those detained were allegedly subjected to beatings, humiliation, electric shocks, and forced shaving in order to force them to incriminate themselves or reveal names of acquaintances, and some were held in isolation, the Geneva-based OHCHR said in the statement.
Such practices, the statement said, would amount to Azerbaijan's breaking its obligations to prevent and protect people from torture and ill-treatment.
Azerbaijani authorities have said the detentions were prompted by complaintsabout disturbances caused by "offers of sexual services to locals and tourists in central Baku."
However, the vast majority of those arrested have denied being involved in sex work, the OHCHR statement said.
All those arrested have since been released, the statement said. Some of them, however, served terms of administrative detention after being charged with hooliganism and resisting police.
Although complaints about instances of ill treatment were raised in court hearings, Azerbaijani judges did not take measures and no investigations were ordered despite requests from the victims' lawyers, the UN experts say. Read more via Radio Free Europe