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April 24, 2009

Gay men are being tortured to death in Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq--Gay men in Iraq are being subjected to an increasing wave of violence as clerics call for their deaths.

On April 2, two gay men were shot by members of their tribe after leaders ordered their executions, days after the murder of four other gay men.

A caf� in Sadr City, a neighborhood of Baghdad led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was burned. The caf� was a popular meeting spot for gay men, who were largely ignored during Saddam Hussein�s reign.

Al Arabiya, an Arabic news network based in the United Arab Emirates, also reported that men suspected of being gay are being tortured to death throughout the country.

One form of abuse is reportedly the use of an Iranian-made surgical glue which bonds permanently to skin. Gay men, and those suspected of being gay, are captured and have their anuses glued shut. They are then forced to drink a diarrhea-inducing fluid, which ruptures their intestine and painfully kills them.

Videos of the torture are being sent over the mobile phone network in the country, Iraqi human rights activist Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net.

But Khalaf Abdul Hussein of the legal affairs office of the Sadr City police station told Al Arabiya, "The extra-judicial killing of any citizen is a crime punishable by law. No one has the right to become a substitute for judicial authorities or executive authorities, and if there are complaints against individuals, there is law and there are police and there are government agencies. No group or class has the authority to punish people instead of the state."

However, he continued, "We, like everyone else, have heard rumors about these cases, but we can't comment on something that is not evidence, and there is no evidence for these crimes either in terms of motivation or in terms of the nature of the criminal acts. We do not know the motives of the killers and we do not know the intentions of those killed."

A new vigilante group, Ahl al-Haq or �Followers of Truth,� are being blamed for many of the attacks, and lists with the names of men presumed to be gay were circulated around Sadr City.

Some victims of the glue torture made it to the hospital to seek treatment and were turned away, according to the leader of Iraqi-LGBT, a group founded in Britain by gay expatriates.

Another video making the rounds in Iraq shows a 12-year-old boy being threatened with a stick. He is ordered to undress, and reveals women�s underwear beneath his robe. When asked why he is dressed like a girl, the boy cries that he does it to make money, since he is the only source of income for his family.

"They kill the gays, they beat them up . . . I have a lot of friends that have been killed--15 or 16, something like that, too much," said a gay Iraqi man who was interviewed by BBC News. He would only give his name as Surour, to maintain his anonymity. "Life has become like hell, believe me, like hell. Whenever I go anywhere, there are checkpoints, and when they see us, they know about us, they detain us and question us, and they want to touch me, yes, to molest me."

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This material is copyrighted by the Gay People�s Chronicle. Permission is given only to repost the headline, byline, and one or two paragraphs, with the full name of the Gay People�s Chronicle and a link to the full article on our website. Reproduction of the entire article is prohibited without specific written permission.

 


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