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16-year-old girl murdered in Azerbaijan, allegedly by fiance

21 October 2022
Hasrat Rajabova, 16, was murdered in the eastern Absheron district.

A 16-year-old girl has been murdered in Azerbaijan, allegedly by her 26-year old fiance.

Hasrat Rajabova was killed on Wednesday in the eastern Absheron District.

Police have arrested her fiance, Murad Hasanov, and charged him with murder.

According to the General Prosecutor’s Office, Hasanov attacked and killed Rajabova with a knife following a personal conflict. 

Commentators in Azerbaijan have suggested the tragedy is an example of a broader issue of child marriage and violations of women’s rights in the country.

Azerbaijani Writer and activist Samad Shikhi told OC Media that ‘the system and state administration in the country are also guilty of the crime’.

‘A 16-year-old girl got engaged to a 26-year-old man under pressure from her family. When the girl tried to refuse the engagement, her fiance cut the throat of the 16-year-old girl, in a public area, in the middle of the street, in front of the mosque.’

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‘This is not an isolated crime, and there is no single perpetrator. The state is the real culprit […] It is this state that took her life.’ 

‘The family of the girl, who was deprived of her schooling, and the officials of that area must answer for this terrible murder.’

The case has prompted public outcry on social media, with some blaming Rajabova’s parents and others noting that many other such cases had taken place but were not widely reported.  

Feminist activist and human rights defender Gulnara Mehdiyeva told OC Media that blaming the girl’s parents dismissed a broader systemic issue. 

Mehdiyeva stated that the responsibility for the growing number of women’s rights abuses in Azerbaijan lies first with state institutions, and, secondly, with society.

She noted that families on both sides, school teachers, and local government authorities had all turned a blind eye to Rajabova’s engagement. 

Mehdiyeva also noted that the State Committee for Family, Women, and Children’s Issues had been ineffective in tackling the issue of child marriage, and done very little to ensure that young women had access to education. 

‘Most importantly, it is the fault of the Government of Azerbaijan, which does not comply with the provisions of the international conventions it has joined’, said Mehdiyeva. 

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