A pair of human rights activists working with the Azerbaijani LGBT group Nefes have this week been forced into hiding after news of their engagement was made public by the press.
Javid Nabiyev, president of Nefes and one half of the couple, announced the news among friends through social media with a photograph of the pair. News of the engagement and the photograph were soon leaked to the public and began to be circulated through various news sites and TV channels.
The pair have now gone into hiding following homophobic targeting of their social media profiles which saw them the subject of numerous death threats. Nabiyev was forced to deactivate his Facebook profile and has told colleagues that he fears going into public because of the threat of violence he and his partner now face.
The location of Nabiyev’s partner is currently unknown, leading some to fear that he may being held by his family following news of his engagement. The partner, known as M.A., was previously the victim of homophobic attacks from family members after his sexuality was made public. As well as being beaten and whipped M.A’s mother poured gasoline on him in an attempt to burn him alive after he attended an LGBT conference earlier this year.
Same-sex marriage is illegal in Azerbaijan and it is thought that the couple hoped to marry in another country.