Poet and artist Babi Badalov is in Campsfield this evening, to be removed to Azerbaijan from Heathrow ON SATURDAY EVENING, at 8pm, on Azerbaijan Airways flight J20008. Babi was suddenly re-detained this week in Cardiff, where he has made a huge impression on the arts scene and among human-rights and gay-rights groups. It will be a massive loss to everyone if he is removed – and the consequences for him are unthinkable. He faces serious persecution in Azerbaijan both on account of his art (which has offended the government) and for his sexual orientation (he is gay).
Some background information here. No Borders Wales have drafted a powerful letter that you could send. I’ve pasted it below – and here’s the link to the Microsoft Word version: http://noborderswales.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/babi-flight-model-letter.doc Please bombard Azerbaijan Airways with this letter – by fax, email, whatever you can manage. Also the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith – contact details are on the web site above.
Best wishes to you all, Bob Hughes
Azerbaijan Airways Rooms 842-843, Norfolk House, South Terminal, London Gatwick Airport, West Sussex RH6 ONN Tel.: (44-8707) 605 757 Tel.: (44-1293) 568 000 Fax.:(44-1293) 568 222 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Forced Removal of Babakan Badalov (Babi) I understand that Babi is due to be removed from the UK against his will on Azerbaijan Airways flight J20008 at 8pm on Saturday 20th September from Heathrow. I am writing to ask you to please intervene to stop this from happening. Babi has been detained by the UK Border Agency whilst preparing a fresh claim for asylum based on new, and as yet unseen, evidence. He is in an extremely precarious state of mental health, and has expressed suicidal tendencies since being taken into detention on Tuesday this week. Put simply, Babi is not medically fit to travel. Babi is an openly gay artist who has faced persecution in Azerbaijan because of his sexuality and because of the radical and critical nature of his art. A recent ILGA report into the human rights of Gay people in Azerbaijan states that the price of open homosexuality is often “estrangement from family, bullying, social exclusion, discrimination, blackmailing and hate crimes”. Similarly an Amnesty International report into freedom of expression in the country cited numerous instances of “harassment including physical abuse at the hands of law enforcement officials” and a number of “violent attacks which have led to serious injury and even death”. He has already experienced beatings and hate crimes: on his return he faces more of the same and perhaps worse. I am aware that airlines are able to exercise discretion about carrying unwilling deportees, and are not obliged to do so. If not for ethical or moral reasons then surely you can see that it is bad for business for you to be seen carrying unwilling prisoners who are unfit for air travel. I therefore implore you to reconsider Azerbaijan Airways’ position on this. Yours faithfully Name: Address: City: Postcode: Country: Date: Email: Phone:
Babi thread on LGBT Asylum News http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/search/label/Babakhan%20Badalov