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Transgender woman turned away from hospital after being stabbed in Baku

31 July 2020
Supporters gathered outside the hospital in protest. Image via Nurlan Gahramanli.

A transgender woman in Azerbaijan who suffered multiple stab wounds was sent away from a state hospital in Baku after receiving only basic first aid.

Aysun, who works as a sex worker, was attacked in her home by a client on Thursday evening, her flatmate told OC Media.

Footage from outside the Republican Clinical Hospital in Baku shows Aysun still bleeding after leaving the hospital.

After journalists and supporters gathered outside, Aysun was readmitted. A spokesperson for the clinic later told Meydan TV that she had been placed in intensive care and that her life was not in danger.

A video from outside the hospital by journalist Nurlan Gahramanli also included footage from immediately after the attack. (Warning: graphic content).

Aysun’s flatmate, who asked to remain anonymous, said that she and her friends confronted the attacker after hearing Aysun screaming.

‘We entered the room and saw this person sitting on her and choking her. There was a small pocket knife in his hands, with which he was stabbing her in the neck.’ 

She said they managed to force the man outside of the flare and then called the emergency services.

‘The ambulance came late […] policemen came and stood aside mocking and insulting us. The ambulance had no stretcher; they carried her on sheets’, she said. 

According to the flatmate, a doctor in the Republican Hospital gave Aysun a few stitches before sending her away.

‘They put the stitches in so badly that some of her hair was stitched to her wound’, she said, adding that they did not give her any painkillers while applying the stitches.

‘The Doctors kept telling her: “You deserve worse”, “You should have died”.’ 

‘After they put stitches, the doctors took her out of the hospital. They said she told them that she wanted to go home. She was still bleeding.’

After Aysun was readmitted, her flatmate said she had called to tell her she was not being fed and that the hospital staff were asking for money.

‘We had to go and take her from there’, she said. ‘During the night she began to bleed again and we had to call an ambulance again. But they didn’t take her to the hospital.’

The Republican Clinical Hospital declined to comment when approached by OC Media.

‘I would have kept killing’

The Sabayil Police Department and Sabayil District Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment, saying the case was being investigated by the Baku Prosecutor’s Office. The Baku Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

However, The Ministry of Internal Affairs told Report.az on Friday that they had detained a man named Hikmat Farajov for the attack. 

Hikmat Farajov. Image via the Interior Ministry.

They said Farajov was also suspected of killing a sex worker in Hajigabul, in central Azerbaijan.

According to the ministry, the body of a woman was found on the Baku-Gazakh-Georgia highway in Hajigabul on Thursday.

In footage of his interrogation released by the Interior Ministry, Farajov admitted to both crimes. 

‘If the police didn’t catch me, I would have kept killing all the prostitutes in Baku’, he said. 

Aysun’s flatmates confirmed to OC Media that Farajov was the man who had attacked her. However, they expressed doubt over the story presented by the police.

‘No legal support’ for transgender women in Azerbaijan

Javid Nabiyev, an international advocacy officer at queer rights organisation the Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance, told OC Media that transgender women have no legal support in Azerbaijan.

‘The first and most important reason is due to lack of resources or financial aid […] To get resources we need to have a legal status in Azerbaijan, which we don’t have. These are connected to each other,’ he said.

‘For example, Nefes LGBT was established in 2012. Since then, we have applied to the Ministry of Justice twice to register the organisation, but they haven’t registered us.’ 

Nabiyev said that because they are not registered, they have to ask for financial support from the public, as they recently did to hire a lawyer for the case of a transgender woman who was stabbed to death. 

[Read more on OC Media: One dead and another injured in attacks on transgender women in Baku]

‘Besides that, there is no legal mention of hate crime against transgender people in Azerbaijani legislation.’

He said that there was often a problem in pursuing such cases as transgender people are often too scared to come forward.

Speaking of the recent murder, he said: ‘we couldn’t find any transgender woman who would testify in her case, because they were in fear’, he said. 

Transgender women who become publicly visible can sometimes face backlash from Azerbaijani society.

The flatmate of Aysun, who was stabbed on Thursday, told OC Media that after she spoke with journalists on camera, her parents disowned her.

‘My family was the only place left to me where I could get support. But after yesterday’s events they blocked me everywhere, saying they don’t care if I am alive or not’, she said.

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