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Trans teen left blind and scarred after harrowing acid attack by ex-boyfriend

Josh Milton March 16, 2021
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On the left: Asya Cevahir poses to the camera. On the right: Asya Cevahir lies in a hospital bed covered in bandages

Asya Cevahir was splashed with acid by, she claims, her ex-boyfriend. She remains in hospital covered in bandages. (Screen captures via Twitter)

A man who is accused of throwing acid on a trans woman’s face, blinding her, has been charged for “intentional injury”, which carries a sentence of one to three years, prompting outrage among the victim’s loved ones.

Asya Cevahir had celebrated her 18th birthday just moments before her ex-boyfriend Emre Boztürk reportedly splashed hydrochloric acid over her in İstanbul, Turkey, on 9 March.

The Syrian refugee now lies in a hospital bed in Kocaeli, her body covered in third-degree burns, scars and full-body bandages and her face disfigured. She has lost vision in one eye and has only 15 per cent vision in the other, according to Turkish news outlet bianet.

Her friends are wary of leaving her alone in a hospital where healthcare providers and her own family are “disgusted” by her and them, they said.

Cevahir recognised her attacker immediately. Her ex-boyfriend, she claimed, put on a face mask to carry out the vicious attack at around 6.30pm as she left her home.

She told police that she had recently broken up with Boztürk after he threatened to kill her. A firestorm of criticism was sparked, however, when it emerged that police had not yet arrested the suspect.

Countless Twitter users began chanting the victim’s name through a hashtag. They rallied for users to not “remain silent against hate attacks“, while Cevahir’s friends call on the suspect to be handed the “heaviest” sentence possible.

The gendarmerie, the military wing of Turkey’s law enforcement, detained Boztürk in Eskipazar, Karabük and was taken to court Saturday (13 March).

Calling for ‘murder’ sentence, friends say trans acid attack victim Asya Cevahir is ‘lonely’ in hospital

Boztürk remains in custody at the time of writing under the charge of “intentional injury”.

The charge is defined by the country’s penal code as “intentional injury due to recklessness”. “The penalty to be imposed shall be reduced by up to two thirds,” it continues, carrying a sentence of one to three years.

Friends of Cevahir responded to the charge with fury. Seemingly underscoring the impunity attackers feel in a country that treats LGBT+ people with increasing hostility.

“We are here for our friend but the hospital staff treats us badly,” a friend told bianet.

“They look at us like they are disgusted by us. Our friend is so lonely here.

“We gave her a phone to talk to her family. She could barely speak with her family. They even wrapped the phone in galoshes. They always look at us like they are disgusted.

“This situation makes us very sad but we are very concerned that they won’t treat our friend, so we stay silent.

“Asya is a Syrian woman and she needs more solidarity. We want the man who attacked her to receive the heaviest sentence and to be tried for murder.”

Asya Cevahir has since been referred to the Kocaeli Derince Training and Research Hospital for treatment for her burns.

It was a brutal attack that shuddered fear in a country where Turkish leaders, whether they be the president or a human rights chair, faith chiefs or advertising decision-makers, have sought to drive a wedge been Turks and LGBT+ people.

While the attack touched off similar senses of vigilance – and terror – in Syria, where the depths of hatred against LGBT+ people is captured in terrifying scenes of queer civilians thrown off of rooftops by militia groups.

Related topics: Trans, Turkey

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