Doski Azad transgender woman executed in honor killing by Iraqi Kurd brother, Chakdar Azad who remains at large. Thought to have fled to Europe.
Doski Azad, who was a make-up artist, died upon her long-lost brother Chakdar Azad shooting his sister. The victim was found deceased with signs of having been shot twice, in the head and chest according to Ekurd Daily.
Notice of the transgender woman’s death came after authorities received a call from a man who identified himself as another brother of the victim.
Ms Azad, who had been promoting her transition on social media, was found dead in the village of Mangesh, around 12 miles north of the city centre of Duhok, three days after her shooting death.
No arrests have been made with the suspect having fled the country and remaining at large.
Transgender woman murdered by her brother in Duhok governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan.
— kamaran Osman (@Kamaran_Mulla) January 31, 2022
Victim had been recipient of ongoing threats from her family
Ms Azad, who left home more than five years ago, had received multiple threats from her family because of her identity despite establishing her own life as a woman and working in a salon.
Speaking to Rudaw her uncle Dlovan Sadiq said: ‘She left the house five to six years ago, I had not seen her ever since. Doski made a mistake.’
A friend of hers also said that Ms Azad’s father had taken her ID and passport from her but that she ‘seemed to have received it back because she spent New Year’s in Dubai’.
Another source also told Rudaw that her brother fled the country on January 30, and drove north to Turkey to avoid tracking.
The US Consulate General in Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdish capital, released a statement condemning the killing, saying: ‘We categorically condemn this violence and the discrimination that is undoubtedly at the root of this crime.
‘We ask the authorities to thoroughly investigate this murder and prosecute the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the law.’
Duhok police have said it was Ms Azad’s family who told them she was killed by her brother, and reported where her body was.
Unrepentant discrimination and vilification
Speaking to local media, district director Brendar Dosky had said that the motive behind the killing is likely Ms Azad’s transgender identity but ‘this is preliminary information and it needs a detailed investigation.’
Ms Azad’s body was last understood to have been examined by forensic teams.
Her family called the police around 3pm on January 31. Ms Azad’s brother is thought to have returned to Kurdistan in January.
An arrest warrant for the suspect, who allegedly lives in Germany, has been issued, VOA reported.
Activists responded saying the killing is ‘gravely concerning’ for transgender people in the area, a woman’s rights activist told the publication.
Hafya Doski said: ‘They already feel discriminated against in our society and attacks like this only exacerbate those fears.’
Violence against transgender and LGBTQ community tacitly abetted by local government
Social media users began spreading #JusticeForDoskiAzad, calling for her killer to be brought to justice – but Iraqi LGBTQ+ activists are afraid there is little hope of that.
‘We all have a lot to say, we are frustrated and angry, but not shocked,’ Zhiar Ali, an LGBTQ+ activist originally from the city of Sulaymaniyah, but now based in the Netherlands said according to the Middle East Eye.
‘As long as the KRG turns a blind eye to the LGBT+ cause and the issues the community face in the region, things like this will continue happening,’ Ali reiterated.
‘Other times, they are too scared to even speak up. The government has failed to provide basic services and necessities to the community, and not enough effort is put into investigation of hate crime cases like Doski’s.’ Ali added.
Members of the LGBT+ community in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are often persecuted by security forces and conservatives. They are subjected to arrests, verbal abuse, and even murder.
Last April it was reported Kurdish security forces arrested at least eight gay men in the city of Sulaymaniyah.
The government had said the operation was a crack down on prostitution and wasn’t targeting the group, but members of the local LGBTQ community felt shaken by the events.
Speaking to VOA, some said they were attempts to force the men to undergo physical examinations.