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Tbilisi City Court has sentenced a man to six months in prison for attacking a transgender woman, ruling it a hate crime.
According to the court, a conflict arose ‘because of the gender identity of the injured’.
The perpetrator, who has not been named, pleaded guilty to the charges, which were punishable by a fine, up to 140 hours of community work, or up to a year in prison.
Georgia’s queer community marks National Transgender Day of Remembrance on 10 November, after Sabi Beriani, a 23-year-old transgender woman, was murdered on 10 November 2014. Beriani was stabbed multiple times and her flat was set on fire.
The main suspect in the case was acquitted of premeditated murder by Tbilisi City Court, but later found guilty of setting her flat on fire and of attacking another transgender woman, Bianka Shigurova.
Shigurova was found dead in her flat in 2016. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, her death was the result of poisoning from a natural gas leak, despite speculation she was also murdered.
Queer rights groups in Georgia have long argued that transgender people are one of the most vulnerable groups in the country.
There are no official statistics on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but rights group the Women’s Initiatives’ Supporting Group (WISG) announced in October 2016 that during that year alone, they recorded at least 20 attacks on transgender and gender nonconforming people in Georgia.
[Read more about the rights of transgender people in Georgia on OC Media: Transgender woman appeals to Tbilisi Court to recognise her gender]