UPDATE: Originally scheduled to be deported on Azerbaiajan Airlines, we asked activists to email and call the company not to deport him, they caved in and Azerbaijan Airlines will not be deporting Babi.
He will now be deported from Heathrow Airport at 15:15 today on flight BD929 British Midlands Airways (BMI) to Baku.
Please contact BMI and let them know in no uncertain terms of the huge level of damage this deportation will do to their company.
Telephone: 0870 6070 555 or 08712240224 or +44 (0)1332 64 8181 (callers outside UK)
Also you can call the BMI switchboard (ask for a senior manager): 01332854000
Fax: 01709 314993
It appears the most effective number to call is 01332854687 extension 2 and speak to press officer Rob Coveney.
Customer Relations: 01332854321 extension 2
E-Contact Form for BMI
- Babi is medically unfit to travel, and is under threat in Azerbaijan.
- That Azerbaijan Airlines were orginally meant to deport later on today, but they refused for ethical reasons.
- Threaten a boycott of the company and serious finacial consquences that that will cause.
- Highlight the damage it will cause the BMI brand from the large amount of press coverage this will get (point out that there has been a large amount of press coverage of Babi’s case alredy)
Online Petition: Click Here
Write to the home office and refer to ref. number: B1234623
Send to: Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department,
Mail: 3rd Floor Peel Buildings, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF
Fax: 020 8760 3132 (00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)
H/T to Unzipped: Gay Armenia for the story.
"Babakhan Badalov (Babi) is an openly gay, internationally renowned radical artist and poet from Azerbaijan. His art and poetry have been explicitly critical of the government and present/past presidents. These factors have led Babi to become a target of repression and persecution over many years. He has recently been described by the government and prominent public figures as being a traitor to Azerbaijan.
Because of his sexuality and the radical nature of his creative activities, he has endured government-led suppression from the Ministry of National Security (MNS – Azerbaijan’s modern-day version of the KGB), together with physical and mental abuse from other sectors of society. All this has taken place in a Muslim country, where homosexuality remains an extremely taboo subject. This led one of Babi’s brothers to threaten to kill him because of the shame which he has brought on the family.
As a result of beatings and bullying over the years Babi has only eight teeth remaining and suffers from a number of mental health problems – such as anxiety and panic-attacks, suicidal tendencies, together with insomnia and a general feeling of depression."