TDoR 2016 / 2016 / August / 12 / Hande Kader

Hande Kader

Age 23

12 Aug 2016
Istanbul (Turkey)

TDoR list ref: tgeu/12-Aug-2016/Hande Kader

Hande Kader
Hande Kader [photo:]

Hande was a trans activist and sex worker who became known to millions of Turks after being photographed at the forefront of the resistance against police forces attempting to repress Istanbul Pride 2015).

On 12th August her body was found at the side of a road in the Zekeriyaköy neighborhood of Istanbul. She had been raped, mutilated, and burnt.

She was last seen getting into a car with a client and had been missing for several days before her body was discovered.

Ms Kader, a sex worker, was last seen entering a client's car one night. Mr Dengiler had hoped she was still alive but he found her body in Istanbul's morgue for unidentified persons.

"I was about to leave the morgue. I felt a sense of lightness for not having found her there. At the last minute, a doctor there said, 'There's also a burned body - look at that as well.' I did. I told them identifying features. They then looked at the computer, at the report. The doctor put his hand on my back and gave his condolences. I lost myself," he said.

He explained Ms Kader's reaction to the deaths of other trans people: "She would go crazy when trans individuals were killed. She'd be so sad... She had been stabbed and beaten before. This didn't happen only to Hande. It happens to all of them."

News of her murder led to a protest in Istanbul on 21th August, despite police repression against public gatherings. Protesters chanted slogans and demanded justice, holding banners reading “We want to die of natural causes”.

But it is perhaps the images of Hande Kader that have been shared innumerable times on social media that best explain the trans woman who is still waiting to be buried due to the processes of identification, post mortem, and DNA testing.

In 2015, police had banned the annual LGBTI Pride march in Taksim Square in Istanbul. They tried to disperse the crowds, using water cannon, rubber bullets and pepper spray. But Ms Kader stood stubbornly against the police.

She reproached journalists: "You take pictures but you do not publish them. No-one is hearing our voices."

Hande Kader's voice was silenced finally by murder, in a way no one would want to imagine: she was burned.

TvT project: The Advocate & BBC, 19.08.2016

Report added: 18 Sep 2018. Last updated: 30 Mar 2022

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