In the wake of reports that a gay pride rally was staged without incident in Azerbaijan’s capital city, police say they are investigating the death of a gay man who was reportedly beaten and stabbed, Pink News reports.
The body of the man, identified as M Namiyev, was found Sept 16 on the side of a highway in a suburb of the capital city, Baku.
Since the Pride rally, which was reported to have taken place “in a friendly atmosphere,” there have been reports that Azerbaijanis have been expressing their disapproval of it online.
One post by “Posrednik” says the rally went off peacefully because it wasn’t publicized and the rainbow flag is not widely recognized as a gay pride symbol.
Another commenter named Kruzhevo said, “How many of them [gay protesters] were there? So that I know to what extent this tragedy is . . . People, I am scared for the future generation.”
According to Pink News, he went on to say that Azerbaijan should “follow Russia’s example.”
Russia, which is due to host the Sochi Winter Olympics next year, has been heavily criticized worldwide for its passage of a series of anti-gay laws, even as a State Duma deputy has proposed another measure that aims to deprive gay people of their parental rights.
Azerbaijan decriminalized homosexuality in 2001, but harassment of LGBT people is still believed to be widespread.