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Posts for April, 2009

Iraq Anti-Gay Torture, Murders Continue

Jim Burroway

April 26th, 2009

We reported earlier about that at least 25 men who were suspected of being gay have been murdered in Baghdad’s Shi’ite enclave of Sadr City. Most of those murdered have the hallmarks of an honor killing by members of the men’s clans. That campaign is continuing, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC):

…[A]n Iraqi group identified as “Fazilat” (Virtue) posted flyers threatening homosexuals with death on walls in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. The flyers, distributed on April 17, list the names of some of the would-be targets and states that “we will soon punish all you perverts.” Residents of Sadr City say the people who were outed in these fliers have gone into hiding.

The IGLHRC has written a letter to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Salim, asking for protection of Iraq’s LGBT population. Amnesty International is writing to Iraq President Nouri al-Maliki, demanding “urgent and concerted action” to stop the killings.

An Arab news source reports that an Iraqi LGBT activist alleges Iraqi militia groups have devised a particularly gruesome torture involving a very strong glue:

According to her, the new substance “is known as the Ameri gum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.”

The source reports that sixty-three have been tortured in this way. Some survived after being treated, but others were taken to hospitals which refused treatment. She also said that Sunni’s are also answering calls from religious leaders for the “eradication” of LGBT people from Iraq.

Here in the U.S., Congressman Jared Polis (D-Co) has asked the US State Department to investigate. He had recently returned from a visit to Baghdad where he brought up the killings with the chargé d’affaires, including allegations that the Iraqi government is complicit in some of the killings.

According to Polis, the Iraqi governenment has arrested five or six members of the advocacy group Iraqi LGBT. One reportedly has escaped custody and one has been executed. Polis describes these “egregious human rights violations” as being carried out with the sanction of the “highest levels of the Iraqi government.”