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Man who threatened to behead queer people arrested in Azerbaijan

6 July 2022
A still from the video posted by Roman Mammadov in which he brandishes what he says is an axe.

A man who recorded a video in the Baku Metro in which he threatened to behead queer people with an axe has been arrested in Azerbaijan.

On Tuesday, 39-year-old Roman Mammadov posted a video on TikTok while holding an item wrapped in cloth, which he said was an axe. He said that if he saw any ‘female-looking’ men wearing make-up or with ‘different hair or eyebrows’, he would behead them with it.

‘If I wouldn’t do this, people would condemn me’, he is heard saying.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Zeyni Huseynov, spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said Mammadov had been identified and detained.

‘During his initial interrogation, R Mammadov admitted to an act of hooliganism and said that he made such videos in order to become famous on social media’, Zeyniyev wrote.

He said Mammadov was a construction and repair worker and regularly took the metro with tools.

Lili Nazar, a queer rights activist in Azerbaijan, blamed the indiffernece of law enforcement agencies in the country and their failure to effectively investigate crimes against queer people for such threats.

‘Last year, when blogger Sevinj Huseynova publicly called for the death and social exclusion of homosexuals, the police did not intervene’, Nazar told OC Media.

‘As a result, LGBTQ+ activist and independent journalist Avaz Hafizli was mercilessly murdered, as Huseynova had targeted him.’

[Read more: Prominent queer Azerbaijani journalist brutally murdered]

‘Members of the queer community feel more at risk now that potential criminals can make such open threats’, Lili added.

Nazar also noted that strict measures should be taken by the police before such threats became widespread.

‘I think that the only way to solve the problem is for the state authorities to ensure the safety of queer people, consider their complaints, arrest such and such potential criminals, and have them undergo psychotherapy during their imprisonment’, Lili said.

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