Out in the World: LGBTQ Azerbaijani activists angered by lenient sentence in gay journalist’s murder

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08/05/2022

LGBTQ activists in Azerbaijan are angered that the Baku Court of Grave Crimes gave the lightest sentence possible to the man convicted of the murder of a prominent Azerbaijani gay activist and journalist. Amrulla Gulaliyev, 24, was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison by a judge for the February killing of Avaz Shikhmammadov, 24, who was better known as Avaz Hafizli. Gulaliyev was Hafizli’s cousin. LGBTQ Azerbaijani activists told reporters the court could have sentenced Gulaliyev to the maximum of 12 years prison time under Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code. Open Caucasus Media reported that the court could have sentenced Gulaliyev to 20 years to life in prison. The court could have considered his pre-hearing testimony and enhanced the charges against him to “murder with special cruelty,” due to the brutality and stating the murder was because the victim was gay, LGBTQ activists said.

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