Despite the dire situation facing Azerbaijan’s women, the State Committee for Family, Women and Children ‘does not take any serious action or report on the current situation’, one of the protestors told Voice of America.
Police arrived at the scene and took the posters from the feminists after observing the protest for a few minutes. Although the protesters left the scene, they were accompanied by police.
The protest was given impetus, protest participant Aytaj Aghazadeh told OC Media, by the brutal murder of 32-year-old Banu Maharramova whose dismembered body was found in the trash bin in Baku’s Nasimi district a week ago. Local police allege that she was killed by her 75-year-old father-in-law Idris Maharramov.
Police report that after killing the woman, Maharramov dismembered her body, stuffed the parts into cellophane bags, and threw them in trash bins in the neighbouring district. According to neighbours, Banu Maharramova lived with her 2 young children, as well as her father-in-law and mother-in-law. Her husband lives outside of the country.
After the incident, Idris Maharramov was detained by police. He remains in custody, suspected of committing premeditated murder. The investigation is ongoing.
News of the killing sparked a wave of discontent on social media under the hashtag #banuüçünsusma (don’t be silent for Banu).
Aghazadeh said that they initially planned the rally as a response to two recent suicides by young women this past January. These suicides, she said, were a symptom of the endemic violence and lack of social support that women face in Azerbaijan.
Women feel trapped, Aghazadeh argued — there are too few domestic violence shelters and they hesitate to appeal to the police as officers often make attempts at family ‘reconciliation’, while actually just returning victims into the clutches of their abuser.
‘The aim of our protest in front of the Government House was to attract the attention of the Human Rights Defender as well as the State Committee for Family, Women and Children's Affairs whose office is in this building, and are directly responsible for combatting this issue in the country’, she said.