Over a several day period at 100 gay and transgender individuals were arrested, tortured, and detained in Azerbaijan.
Police raided the capital, Baku, and forced those detained to give up personal information on their friends.
The raids are reminiscent of the gay purge in Chechnya.
Police are saying that the individuals were arrested for prostitution. While people in the country are saying it is "to protect moral values.
Ayaz Efendiyev, deputy chairman of the Justice Party, responded to the reported arrests by saying, “Defending these creatures who are sources of immorality, dangerous diseases, and who have been cursed by God, Western circles are trying to destroy our national traditions under the name of ‘human rights."
This does hint at a prejudice for the arrest and the fact that it may have been more related to their sexual orientation.
While homosexuality is legal in Azerbaijan, it has a history and still does have prejudice against sexual minority groups.
Javid Nabiyev, president of the prominent Nefes (‘Breathe’) LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance said that there wasn't a clear reason, and that police just started rounding up gays and lesbians.
Nabiyev, said they are using all the resources they can to ask gay and transgender people to lay low. Don't discuss their sexuality with people they don't know and to not answer random phone calls.
You can watch his full recap below, where he talks about how the prostitution charges aren't real, and that he believes the police are trying to create a negative narrative around LGBT people.
H/T: Pink News