A leading LGBT rights activist has committed suicide in Azerbaijan, after leaving a note which said he was not able to go on living in “this country and this world”.
Police confirmed today that Isa Shakhmarli, 20, and who was a chairman of Azerbaijan Free LGBT killed himself using a rainbow-coloured flag to hang himself.
“We received a call from his loved ones reporting a suicide,” a police spokesman for the Yasamal district of Baku said to the AFP.
“Police officers found his body at the scene. An investigation into the suicide is being carried out,” the police statement said.
“I am leaving. Forgive me for everything. This country and this world are not for me,” the message he wrote to friends on Facebook read. “You are all guilty for my death. This world cannot handle my true colours. Goodbye,” it continued.
A video posted online showed that medics arriving at the scene attempting to resuscitate Shakhmarli, and a torn rainbow flag was seen hanging from the ceiling.
Although homosexuality was decriminalised in 2001, oppression and harassment of LGBT people in the Muslim country is thought to be widespread. There are no legal provisions for same-sex unions and no laws protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination.
Friend and former colleague of the deceased, Vugar Adigozalov, said his family had found it difficult to accept him: “The main reason for his suicide was that he had bad relations with his family.”