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Azerbaijani activists reportedly detained after protesting detention of transgender women

25 May 2023
Police detaining Ali Malikov, one of the activists. Screengrab from MeydanTV

Four Azerbaijani activists were reportedly administratively charged on 24 May after taking part in a protest against the arrest of two transgender women, with two sentenced to 15 days of detention while two others received fines. 

On the evening of 22 May, footage of a confrontation between three transgender people and the police in Baku’s Khatai district was shared on social media. In the footage, a transgender woman is seen fighting with police and then being detained. 

A group of activists gathered outside the 37th police station in the early hours of 23 May to protest the detention. Four activists were detained at the protest, and, according to Ali Malikov, one of the activists detained at the protest, were taken to the Khatai district court at noon on 24 May. 

Malikov stated that two protesters were sentenced to 15-day administrative detention on administrative charges, while Malikov received an administrative fine of ₼70 ($41) for petty hooliganism, and Javid Nabiyev, another activist, a fine of ₼300 ($180) for petty hooliganism and illegal possession of drugs. 

A spokesperson for Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry told MeydanTV that, in total, seven individuals were detained at the protest, adding that two other people were initially detained on 22 May for beating up an individual and causing material damage in a hotel. 

Malikov told OC Media that three activists were released soon after their detention while four were taken to court, but that they did not know what had happened to the trans women after their detention. 

Both Malikov and Nabiyev claim that they were verbally abused by police officers after their detention, forced to take drug tests, and handcuffed, with Nabiyev additionally claiming that homophobic slurs were used against them.

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