Gay activist stabbed to death by cousin in Azerbaijan

Avaz Hafizli Azerbaijan
Image: Leyla Mustafayeva Twitter

Authorities in Azerbaijan say a cousin of local gay activist Avaz Hafizli stabbed him to death last Tuesday.

Police conveyed the dead man to a morgue in a garbage truck after refusing to touch his body because he was gay.

According to a statement from the prosecutor’s office, Amrulla Gulaliyev murdered his cousin following an argument. Gulaliyev was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Avaz Hafizli worked as a journalist for local news station 13Kanal. Last year, the activist chained himself to the fence in front of the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office.

Azerbaijan is a notoriously homophobic country and over recent years, the government increased crackdowns against LGBTIQ+ people in recent years. LGBTIQ+ people risk imprisonment and torture at the hands of police and blackmail.

A former activist from Azerbaijan who now lives in the UK told Pink News that Avaz Hafizli’s activism put him at risk of police violence.

“After his open protests, his family and relatives started threatening him. He knew that there is a danger, yet he kept going.”

Penis and head cut off

“Yesterday he was killed by his cousin, brutally, his head and penis were cut off.”

The activist, who formerly worked with Avaz Hafizli, said friends expected a police cover-up.

“The whole queer community is in panic now, because this violence keeps being justified in the media and even praised by some politicians.”

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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