A 25 year-old salon worker, known as Sabi, was the victim of the attack which authorities are treating as a pre-meditated murder. The victim in question is thought to be the same woman who had previously appeared on Georgian television advocating for the rights of sexual minorities.
No details of the murder have yet to be released, though neighbours who spoke to Georgian press later confirmed that there was no indication of a struggle and that the door to Sabi’s apartment was locked when the fire was discovered.
A police investigation into the murder is currently under way, though authorities have yet to confirm if the case will be treated as an incident of hate crime. According to Georgian law intolerance towards someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be counted as an aggravating factor for violent crimes, and therefore can be treated with harsher penalties.
In response to news of the murder Georgian LGBT organization Identoba released a public statement in which they called upon authorities to treat the incident as a hate crime. The group also mentioned that they believed Georgian police were not currently equipped to deal with anti-LGBT crimes such as this. One specific topic mentioned was the victim’s personal details, which the group urged authorities to treat with dignity and respect, only sharing information about Sabi’s life which was absolutely necessary.