A 32 year old transgender woman has died in hospital after a violent attack in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
While at a bus stop late on the night of 14 October, Zizi Shekeladze was hit several times with a concrete bar and her throat was cut.
Zizi suffered head fractures and severe skull trauma, subsequently leaving her unconscious and on life support.
A lawyer from the Women’s Initiative Support Group broke the news to journalists, after just over a month of being in intensive care.
A group of non-government organizations rallied together to condemn the attack and labelled the incident a hate crime.
‘Fundamental defects in the justice system, and the absolute non-existence of equality laws in Georgia country have created an environment of impunity and transformed the LGBT community as the most marginalized social group in the country,’ the statement from the NGOs reads, reports Georgia Today.
It is not yet proven that the incident was officially a hate crime, but public defender Ucha Nanuashvili said his office would try to determine if the victim was specifically targeted for being a member of the LGBTI community.
‘Unfortunately, in most cases, hate crimes are not taken into consideration during investigations…what is troubling is how ambiguous and incompetent the investigative methods are when dealing with a case like this,’ Nanuashvili’s statement reads.
‘My transgender friends, please be careful,’ said a friend of Zizi’s, Eka Jamagidze.
‘I loved you very much and I do not want your loss. I hope that the prosecutors will be on the right trail,’ she said.
A man suspected in the attack, Giorgi Murjikneli, was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
A court hearing will be held on 8 December.