Saturday, 20 September 2008

Gay Azeri artist Babi B has been deported from the UK to Azerbaijan via BMI flight

Breaking news:

Sorry, Babi! We failed to keep you in the UK and potentially safeguard your life.

If anything happens to Babi in Azerbaijan, British government and the BMI airline will bear the ultimate responsibility for that.

Below is a message which I just received via Keep Babi Safe in Cardiff Facebook group:

"As far as we know, Babi left the country on BMI flight BD929 to Baku at 3.15 pm today (Saturday 20th Sept).

BMI received loads of calls about Babi, urging them not to carry him on their flight given his mental condition and the traumas he faces in Azerbaijan. Callers also reminded BMI of the possible boycotts and negative press that would occur if they went ahead and carried Babi to his very precarious future.

Depite all this, BMI decided to comply with the HO decision.

Please write to BMI stating that you will ensure none of your friends and family travel with them in the future, that you will campaign ceaselessly against them, for they have acted selfishly, with no regard to an individual's health and mental well-being.

Let's make sure they experience a backlash. In particular, everyone should contact Rob Coveney: 01332854687 extension 2. This is a man who had the chance to keep Babi safe but instead chose to turn his mobile off in the hours prior to the plane's departure in order to ignore all protest - and probably sit in a beer garden somewhere, soaking up some rays (conjecture, of course, but he certainly wasn't doing his job and manning the phones!)."

P.S. I can't even properly boycott BMI, as it's the only direct airline from the UK to Armenia... But I will refrain from buying any other flights via BMI.


John Hein said...

You might also wish to protest to the gay MD of British Midland plc.

His name and home address:


artmika said...

Labour reneges on gay asylum pledge

Harriet Harman fails to intervene to stop Babi Badalov's deportation

"New complaint procedure is worthless," says Tatchell

London – 22 September 2008

"Government ministers Harriet Harman and Barbara Follett have reneged on their undertaking to intervene in cases where LGBT asylum seekers are being unfairly treated by the Home Office," said Peter Tatchell of the LGBTI human rights group OutRage!

"The deportation of Babi Badalov shows that the complaints mechanism is worthless," he said.

Mr Tatchell was commenting on the ministers' failure to respond to his requests to halt the deportation on Saturday 20 September of gay asylum claimant Babi Badalov, who fled homophobic persecution in Azerbaijan.

"Deporting Mr Badalov back to Azerbaijan was heartless and reckless. His life is now in danger," added Mr Tatchell.

"Babi was deported, despite being in the process of filing a new asylum claim with fresh evidence. This new evidence includes threats to kill him by one of his brothers, on the grounds that he had bought shame to his family by being gay. There are also new witness statements detailing Babi's history of homophobic persecution in Azerbaijan.

"The Azerbaijani police are unable to protect him.

"In these circumstances, his removal should have been put on hold until he had an opportunity to put forward his new evidence to an asylum tribunal," said Mr Tatchell.

In a letter today to ministers Harman and Follett, Mr Tatchell writes:

"At my meeting with you in the Cabinet Office on 3 September, you agreed to establish a mechanism whereby I could report abuses and you would take action to put them right. But you have not fulfilled this pledge.

"I sent your office an email about the asylum claim of Babi Badalov on 18 September, requesting that you make representations to the Border Agency and Home Secretary to defer his deportation pending an asylum tribunal hearing to consider Babi's fresh claim based on new evidence.

"I made the case in my email, and by phone, to your staff; urging that the Home Office should not pre-judge that Babi's fresh evidence was flawed. I requested the Home Office to use its discretionary powers to give him a new asylum hearing where he could have his fresh evidence properly scrutinised and assessed by an adjudicator. To remove Babi without such a hearing would, I argued, be a denial of natural justice - and a violation of the principles of fairness which the Border Agency claims it upholds.

"I specifically requested by email and phone that you intervene to halt to Babi's removal.

"From what I was told late on Friday 19 September by Hannah Gregory, Camelia Thomas and Maggie McNally, you declined to make any representations to the relevant government ministers - Jacqui Smith and Liam Byrne - even though they were easily accessible to you at the Labour Party conference.

"I do not know or understand why you apparently ignored my request and sat on your hands, but it looks like a betrayal of the trust and commitment that I thought we had established at our meeting on 3 September.

"I came to that meeting willing to put the government's past failings on LGBT asylum issues to one side. I wanted to work with you to get things right.

"Now, at the first hurdle, those hopes are in ruins.

"Perhaps you could suggest how we might put the hopeful conclusions of our 3 September meeting back on track?

"I am still willing to engage and seek solutions, which must in future include some fail-proof mechanism for halting the unfair treatment of genuine LGBT refugees," concludes Mr Tatchell's letter.

artmika said...

And here is view from Azerbaijan.

Azad Isa-zade: "Our society got used to the fact that its certain part consists of people of untraditional sexual orientation"

Day.Az interview with famous psychologist Azad Isa-zade

- Azerbaijani gay painter Babakhan Badalov was arrested by British frontier services. He went to Britain in 2006, claiming that he is being pursued in Azerbaijan. British powers did not provide refuge for him. In July he lost an appeal in the court and was preparing for a new court process in which he was going to prove that his life would be under threat in case he returns to Azerbaijan. Do you consider that Badalov's life is really under threat upon return to Azerbaijan because he is gay?

- Let's admit that he would not be able to integrate with our society without any problems. At the same time, I do not see any special threat to his life and freedom. Yes, people in Azerbaijan do not welcome untraditional sexual orientation, but no cases of violence against sexual minorities are recorded in our country. Moreover, Badalov is an art worker and art workers with their untraditional orientation are treated normally not only in the developed countries but also in present-day Azerbaijan.

- Why are people now used to put an equality sign between a person of art and a person of untraditional sexual orientation?

- A person of art differs from a person, earning a living at a plant, in a technical sphere for his outlook, people, he is communicating with, and lifestyle. Moreover, the opinion of the surrounding people is important for a person of art and he tries to attract the attention with a scandalous behavior, untraditional thinking, outlook and sexual orientation, which can often be a fashion, a part of entourage, surrounding the world of a person of art and it can also be a gay game, by means of which any artist or a singer or a musician tries to raise public interest.

- Did the attitude towards people of untraditional sexual orientation change through the past few years in Azerbaijan?

- I think through the past few years the attitude towards people of untraditional sexual orientation in Azerbaijan has become more tolerant. Certainly, local homosexuals do not feel too free, as they do in the developed countries, however, they do not face any special problems in Azerbaijan, as well. Our society got used to the fact that its certain part consists of people of untraditional sexual orientation and it has become tolerant to it, though it does not welcome such people.

- Is this tolerance connected with the propaganda of their success in mass media and Internet?

- I do not think that people of normal sexual orientation tend to imitate people of untraditional sexual orientation, no matter how successful the latter are. But I agree that effeminacy in speech and conduct has become a fashion among the people of traditional sexual orientation. In other words, there is a fashion not for untraditional orientation, but for its imitation. The number of real homosexuals in local show business is much lower than the number people, pretending to be homosexual.

- Is it possible that Baku will turn into a city, as much favorable for gays, as Amsterdam? Can gay parades be possibly held in our capital?

- Bakuvians and guests of Baku could observe a kind of gay parades every night, while walking over the night city, especially by the Tbilisi Avenue. As we know, this "parade" was dispersed within a night and there are no places where homosexuals could gather in Baku. Therefore, I do not think that Baku may turn into the second Amsterdam. No matter how tolerant our society is, we will never have such a level of integration of homosexuals into the public life, like it is in Holland.