Azerbaijan | News

Azerbaijani Gay Rights Activist Hangs Himself with Rainbow Flag

Isa Shakhmarli, chairman of Azerbaijan Free LGBT, a Baku-based gay rights advocacy group, was found dead on Wednesday after leaving a suicide note, Tengri News reports:

ShakhmarliIn an emotional farewell note, Shakhmarli asked friends to let his mother know he loved her and said that he had left the door to his flat open. "I am leaving. Forgive me for everything. This country and this world are not for me," Shakhmarli wrote in a message to friends on the social networking site Facebook. "You are all guilty for my death. This world cannot handle my true colours. Goodbye," the message said.

A video posted onto an Internet news site showed medics at the scene trying, and failing to resuscitate Shakhmarli as friends wept in the background. A torn rainbow flag can be seen hanging from the ceiling.

Vugar Adigozalov, a close friend and former colleague of Shakhmarli at the gay rights organisation, told AFP that his family had difficulty accepting his sexuality.

Shakhmarli was 20.

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  1. Impossibly sad.
    That damn life lottery of being born in the wrong country and in the wrong family.

    Posted by: Michel | Jan 23, 2014 10:33:27 AM

  2. The suicides always occur when the family is unsupportive. You can put up with a hell of a lot with family support, which is why the religious leaders who try to divide families over this issue all deserve to gop to their imaginary hell.

    Posted by: j.martindale | Jan 23, 2014 10:34:19 AM

  3. So very sad. Impossible to imagine, what it's like to live there.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Jan 23, 2014 10:37:57 AM

  4. Heartbreaking and unfair. A young man growing up in an oppressive environment, and he was out there working and fighting to make things better for others, despite the apparent lack of support at home. May people learn from this.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jan 23, 2014 10:39:12 AM

  5. @J.Martindale: +1

    Posted by: TheSeer | Jan 23, 2014 10:41:52 AM

  6. His family are scum.

    Posted by: MaryM | Jan 23, 2014 10:55:28 AM

  7. beyond heart breaking. How many of us know how this young man felt, I know I do. How I wish I could have hugged him and told him he had a friend and ally. While our fight will never be over, it is exhausting at times. I just wish he could have found the place where he could have seen a potential future.

    Posted by: Mark | Jan 23, 2014 10:58:22 AM

  8. how i wish i could have done sad

    Posted by: mymy | Jan 23, 2014 11:00:56 AM

  9. My God, how terribly sad. Life is so precious that no matter how bad it is we should never 'throw in the towel' and give it up. There are so many avenues available to us to change a bad situation into a happy life.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Jan 23, 2014 11:05:48 AM


    Yup. Family rejection is the most dangerous, painful part of being LGBT.



    Posted by: redball | Jan 23, 2014 11:16:19 AM

  11. What child shall we sacrifice?

    This is all to often the results when parents of LGBT children hold the teachings of the Church above the love of their child. They are the sacrifice on the alter of their parents 'faith'.

    'This country and this world are not for me.' Isa couldn't find enough hope in the world to continue living. I'm so sorry we failed you Isa. Beyond tears.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Jan 23, 2014 11:29:58 AM

  12. This story breaks my heart. Things will not change in his country.

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Jan 23, 2014 11:53:30 AM

  13. RELIGION - POISONS all it touches

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jan 23, 2014 11:57:08 AM

  14. RELIGION - POISONS all it touches

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jan 23, 2014 11:57:09 AM

  15. Doesn't anyone suspect murder here? I'm suspicious, particularly about the "left the door open" part.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 23, 2014 12:07:51 PM

  16. Gays in those abominable, intolerant nations need to know that despise having born under the wrong circumstances they still have the option (small as it is sometimes) to pursue a refugee status in a different country. Dont give up!!!

    so sad.

    Posted by: Felix | Jan 23, 2014 12:49:12 PM

  17. I blame his family. And I blame the church.

    Posted by: Just_a_guy | Jan 23, 2014 1:23:03 PM

  18. I think I should make a caveat to what I wrote above. Some families CAN be supportive and young people can still be so psychologically disturbed and disheartened that that may not be enough to keep them from hurting themselves. Nevertheless, I think that unsupportive families may be the most damaging things possible to a young person's psychological state.

    Posted by: j.martindale | Jan 23, 2014 2:25:13 PM

  19. How very sad and tragic. The young man fought the good fight against impossible odds but in the end, with virtually no support, he succumbed to the harsh realities of rejection and disdain from those whose support he needed most: his family. Chalk up another pyrrhic victory for the forces of bigotry, hatred, and religious ignorance. May Isa Shakhmarli be remembered and honoured for the courage and conviction he showed in his all too short life.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jan 23, 2014 2:41:28 PM

  20. So sad. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult life must be for an LGBT person living in a country like Azerbaijan.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 23, 2014 4:00:48 PM

  21. This is so sad. May Isa's ghost haunt those horrible people.

    Posted by: Carlos | Jan 23, 2014 4:41:39 PM

  22. This is on the people of Azerbaijan and Islam.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 23, 2014 5:17:34 PM

  23. This story weighs heavily on my heart. Wherever Isa's spirit has left to, I hope it is a safe, comforting, wonderful place where he can let his true colours shine.

    I hope he is remembered and honoured, too, Jamal49.

    @ Carlos, I know how you feel. If the ghost were just made out of leftover angry/bitter energy then great, but if the ghost has to be made out of the total of the deceased spirit then I don't want poor Isa to have to endure any more.

    I curse his oppressors.

    Posted by: ShesAWitch | Jan 23, 2014 8:18:59 PM


    Posted by: jaker | Jan 23, 2014 8:27:51 PM

  25. ..and now we know why Jesus wept.

    Posted by: *****overTX | Jan 23, 2014 10:03:18 PM

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