Hundreds of protesters have called for justice after a transgender woman was brutally murdered in Istanbul. Turkey ranks number one in Europe in transgender murders.
Demonstrators in Istanbul gathered on Sunday calling for justice and a hate crime law after the murder of a transgender woman earlier this month.
The body Hande Kader, a LGBT activist and sex worker, was found burned beyond recognition in a forest outside Istanbul after she was last seen getting into the car of a client. She was prominent figure in Turkey's LGBT rights scene.
About 200 protesters held banners reading "We will not diminish [the value] of one more person. Justice for Hande. Justice for everyone." Other placards read "transgender murders are political" and "the state is the perpetrator." They were joined by two opposition parliamentarians.
Police with water cannons and tear gas stood by, but the protest passed peacefully. In the past, LGBT rights activists and police have clashed during protests.
According to a report published in March by the rights group Transgender Europe, Turkey is first in Europe and ninth in the world in transgender murders. Between January 2008 and December 2015, 41 transgender people were killed in Turkey.
The Turkish Human Rights Association documented in 2015 at least 21 transgender hate murders or assaults, including attacks involving guns, knives and clubs.
Hande's murder was the most recent act of brutal violence against transgender people since Syrian refugee Muhammed Wisam Sankari was found decapitated last month in Istanbul.
Police often harass transgender people and their murders are seldom thoroughly investigated.
Homosexuality and licensed sex work in government-run brothels is legal in Turkey. Many transgender people in Turkey are involved in sex work on the streets or in illegal brothels, putting them in danger of violence.
LGBT activists have said they are often harassed and discriminated against and subject to homophobic statements from the government and society that lead to hate crimes. They have demanded the government pass a hate crime law
cw/sms (AFP, AP)