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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 31 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 05
LGBT leader in Azerbaijan dies from suicide
Section One
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LGBT leader in Azerbaijan dies from suicide

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Isa Sahmarli, a leader of the LGBT human rights movement in former communist Azerbaijan, succumbed to anti-LGBT sentiment and rejection by his family; he was found dead in his apartment Wednesday. He hanged himself with a rainbow flag.

Sahmarli, only 20 years old, served as the head of Azad (Free) LGBT, one of the few Gay-rights organizations in the country.

The openly Gay activist left a note on his Facebook page:

'I am leaving you. God bless you. This country and this world are not for me. I am going to be happy now. Tell my mother I loved her very much. I blame you all for my death. This world is not colorful enough for my colors. Farewell.'

Homosexuality is stigmatized in the mainly Muslim but officially secular former Soviet country. Many Gays and Lesbians say they experience routine harassment and attacks and are shunned by friends and family after coming out.

Vugar Adigozalov, a close friend and former colleague of Sahmarli at the Gay rights organization, told AFP that his family had difficulty accepting his sexuality.

'The main reason for his suicide was that he had bad relations with his family,' Adigozalov said.

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