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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