A sex worker was stabbed 11 times and killed by a client. Her family wouldn’t collect her body from the morgue because she’s trans

Aysu Mammadli

The family of a trans woman and sex worker killed by a client in a horrific attack refused to collect her body from the morgue or attend her funeral.

Aysu Mammadli, a sex worker, was stabbed 11 times by a client on June 18 and died of her injuries in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital.

She was 28, and been disowned by her family for being trans.

Mammadli’s death was first reported by journalist Avaz Hafizli, who told OC Media that police informed him Mammadli has been stabbed in the head, neck, chest and back at the client’s home in Baku’s Khatai district.

“[They said that] in the morning, the neighbours saw traces of blood on the floor and called the police,” Hafizli said.

“Police broke into the flat and found the body inside. Now a murder investigation has started in the Prosecutor’s Office.”

A trans friend of Mammadli told local news that the dead woman’s family had refused to collect her body from the morgue because of her gender identity.

Queer rights activist Seymour Nazar confirmed this, adding that Mammadli’s funeral on June 22 was attended by six friends from the local queer community – none of her family were there.

Police claim trans woman was killed in ‘self defence’. Others say different.

The man who stabbed Aysu Mammadli 11 times was reportedly acting in self-defence, the police – who also misgendered the dead trans woman – have claimed.

A police spokesperson said that Kanan Abdurrahmanov, 36, was attacked by Mammadli in his home.

The two had agreed a price for sex, but when Abdurrahmanov found out that she was trans he changed his mind on the price, offering to pay $18 instead.

Mammadli then demanded $60 before – police said – pulling out a knife and stabbing Abdurrahmanov.

“Enraged, Abdurrahmanov took the weapon from his attacker and struck her 11 times, as a result of which she died on the spot,” a police spokesperson said.

“Then the suspect wrapped the body in polyethylene and tied it with a ribbon, but he could not get rid of it.

“The man fled the scene knowing that the police were already looking for him. The transgender person attracted the attention of neighbours by making noise during the conflict.”

But Seymour Nazar says that the preliminary police investigation that confirmed this version of events, carried out by the Khatai District Police Office and the Criminal Investigation Department of the Kurdamir District Police Department, is wrong.

Nazar said that friends of Mammadli believe she was killed elsewhere and then “dragged” to Abdurrahmanov’s home, citing scratches on her knees and legs as evidence.

“The information the police gave to Oxu.Az is false”, Nazar said.

He continued: “The allegation that the person stabbed Aysu defending himself, and that she allegedly stabbed him first, is illogical.

“A person cannot stab another person [11] times in defence.”

Trans sex workers in Azerbaijan fear they are being ‘hunted’.

The day after Mammadli was murdered, another trans sex worker in Baku was also stabbed by a client – she escaped with her life, but the double stabbing has raised fears among the trans community that they are being “hunted” by men.

According to Nazar, the second woman was also stabbed by a client, who had been arguing with a third sex worker about payment.

Leaving the argument, the man approached the car of a trans sex worker – but ended up stabbing her in the neck and shoulder.

“The transgender woman, protecting herself, pushed him out of her car,” Nazar said.

“The next day several transgender women saw this person again in that area.

“That day he was arrested and a criminal case was started against him.”

Nazar added that the incidents confirmed fears that trans people are being “hunted” in Azerbaijan.