A 23-year-old trans woman was reportedly killed by her brother in Iraqi Kurdistan late last month in what local media has called an honor killing.
Doski Azad, a make-up artist at a salon, was killed January 28 near the city of Duhok, reported local media outlet Rudaw.
Azad was shot twice, allegedly by her estranged brother who since fled the country. Authorities found Azad's body February 1.
"Our investigation so far suggests that Doski Azad was killed by her brother at a location just outside the city before he managed to flee the crime scene," Hemin Suleiman, a spokesman for the Duhok police, told VOA. He added that the victim was killed by a handgun.
Suleiman said that an arrest warrant had been issued for the suspect. VOA reports that the brother is suspected to live in Germany.
Hayfa Doski, a women's rights activist in Duhok, said Azad's killing has sent fear running through many vulnerable groups.
"But transgender people, in particular, have been gravely concerned about this killing," she said, according to VOA. "They already feel discriminated against in our society and attacks like this only exacerbate those fears."
Doski added that people have expressed their concerns on social media following Azad's killing.
Last Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement on Twitter calling for authorities in the region to find those responsible for the killing and bring them to justice.
"We categorically condemn this violence and the discrimination that is undoubtedly at the root of this crime," the U.S. Consulate General in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, wrote. "We ask the authorities to thoroughly investigate this murder and prosecute the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the law."
Human rights activists have denounced the conservative attitudes in the region, saying it is not a reason to target LGBTQ+ people.
"These people are born this way, so society must accept them the way they are," Abdulrahman Bamerni, a Duhok-based human rights advocate, told VOA. "You can't kill someone just because he or she is different from you."