Public activists and journalists were not allowed to attend the trial
The trial over the murder of journalist and queer activist Avaz Shikhmammadov (Hafizli) has begun. His cousin Amrulla Gulaliyev, accused of murdering him, will be judged at the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.
On June 20, a preliminary hearing was held under the chairmanship of Judge Ali Mammadov. Gulaliyev, who is being held in the Baku Pre-Trial Detention Center in Kurdakhani, was not brought to court but joined the trial online from prison.
None of the LGBTQIA and feminists activists or journalists who came to watch the trial were allowed into the courtroom. However, representatives of the British embassy were among those who came to watch the trial and were given the opportunity to participate in it.
The activists who were not allowed to attend the trial protested in front of the Baku Court of Grave Crimes because of their ban and the permission for the British to sit in court. Activist Javid Nabiyev said that this is not only a violation of the law, but also an indication that the state does not support its citizens.
Protesters held an LGBTQIA flag, and raised papers written “The killer is the state!”. They then pasted the posters on the wall of the courthouse.
The trial over the murder of 24-year-old Avaz Hafizli will continue on July 4.
The murder took place on February 22 in the yard of Avaz Hafizli’s house in Balakhani settlement, in the Sabunchu district of Baku. According to witnesses, his cousin Amrulla Gulaliyev was drunk at the time of the incident. He said in his testimony that the incident took place due to a personal dispute between him and his cousin.
Gulaliyev was charged under premeditated murder. Public figures claim Hafizli was killed because of his sexual orientation and was a victim of hatred and homophobia.