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Prominent queer Azerbaijani journalist brutally murdered

23 February 2022
Avaz Hafizli chaining himself to the gates of the Prosecutor General’s Office in Septmeber 2021 to protest government inaction against homophobic incitement by popular Instagrammer Sevinj Huseynova. Image via Mikroskop.

Avaz Hafizli, one of Azerbaijan’s best-known openly queer journalists, has been stabbed to death and then dismembered, allegedly by his cousin.

According to a joint statement from the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Interior Ministry, Hafizli was murdered by 24-year-old Amrulla Gulaliyev on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the preliminary investigations,  Gulaliyev was intoxicated at the time of the incident, and in his testimony, he said that he committed the crime because of a personal dispute with Hafizli. 

Freelance journalist Teymur Karimov, who reportedly arrived at the scene of the crime shortly after the killing, told Toplum TV that Hafizli was ‘beheaded at the entrance to his house’. 

He said that police were already present when he arrived and that they refused to touch Hafizli’s body. 

‘Avaz’s body was put in a car by his friends and journalists who arrived at the scene and sent it to the morgue department of the Sabunchu District hospital’, Karimov recalled.

Interior Ministry spokesman Elshad Hajiyev told OC Media that ‘the allegations about the police sent to the scene are baseless’.

Avaz Hafizli was an employee of online newsportal Kanal 13. He was also well-known for his queer activism. He made headlines this past September after chaining himself to the gates of the Prosecutor General’s Office to protest government inaction against homophobic incitement by popular Instagrammer Sevinj Huseynova.

[Read more: Journalist chains himself to Prosecutors’ gate in Azerbaijan]

In an interview with OC Media in December, Hafizli said that members of his family had rejected him after he was targetted by Huseynova.

‘I miss my family so much. However, I cannot see them due to safety concerns’, Hafizli said.

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