Leaked Zoom call reveals homophobia of Azerbaijan opposition politicians

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05/24/2020

A series of Zoom calls between senior members of the National Council of Democratic Forces, representing opposition parties in the Azerbaijani National Assembly, has revealed strong homophobic sentiment within the group, according to a Mako news report. Leaked between May 13 and 17, four videos expose conversations that focus on the issue of LBGT rights, with one former MP and member of the National Council’s Coordination Centre, Gultakin Hajibayli, saying that “the number one priority for the West is the rights of sexual minorities, the rights of undesirables.” The conversation then moved to Ismail Djalilov, an openly gay Azerbaijani journalist who was previously critical of Hajibayli, with a board member of the Civil Unity Party, Rafik Manafli, calling the former a “male whore,” adding that “it’s a pity that Hitler did not exterminate all the gays in his time.” One member of the National Council, Ganimat Zahid, even remarked in the background that “our meeting is going live, be careful.” The leak has since caused a scandel in Azerbaijani politics, according to the report.

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