Reports suggest that a new wave of violence against Iraq’s LGBT population may have begun, with some sources claiming that more than 40 people may have been kidnapped, tortured or murdered because they are suspected of being gay.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has today received reports from Iraq of a wave of targeted killings of individuals who are perceived to be gay or lesbian. According to Iraqi human rights activists, in early February 2012, an unidentified group posted death threats against “the adulterous individuals” in the predominantly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and Basra. The threats gave the individuals, whose names and ages were listed, four days to stop their behavior or else face the wrath of God, and were to be carried out by the Mujahedin. According to sources inside Iraq, as the result of this new surge of anti-gay violence close to 40 people have been kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered. The Iraqi authorities have neither responded to this targeted violence nor have they publicly denounced it. It is widely believed that these atrocities are being committed by a group of the Shiite militia.
More details have surfaced via the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq:
New barbaric attacks started against the Iraqi lgbt in many cities like Baghdad and Basra while using inhumane methods such as hitting the head and body parts of gay victims with building concrete blocks repeatedly till death or by pushing them over high building roof which took place in Basra city. The actions of killings, torture, and dismembering against those who were described as “adulterous” by Islamic Shia militias, besides hanging lists on the walls of several sections in Al-Sadr city and in Al- Habibea region, had all terrorized the society at large and especially the Iraqi lgbt community, knowing that those attacks are directed against anyone suspected with gay practices or appearance.
The first killings took place on the sixth of February 2012 and continued or rather escalated till the current days. One of the hanged lists in Al-Sadr city included the names and addresses of 33 person, while other lists included other tens of names in other areas. News confirmed that 42 gay men were tortured and killed so far, mostly by concrete blocks, while some by dismembering.
[Source. -- Please be aware before you click this link there is a graphic depiction of a dead body.]
Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of the IGLHRC said in a statement: “Today the Government of Iraq represents a fully sovereign and democratic country. As such, it must protect all of its citizens including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from hate-filled violence and death at the hands of armed militias. Vigilantes who perpetuate the targeted killing of those perceived to be gay or lesbian must not be tolerated in a new Iraq. We have seen these atrocities before. In 2009 vigilantes murdered hundreds of Iraqi individuals for their perceived sexual orientation. There are no excuses for such heinous human rights violations. We demand that the Iraqi Government put a stop to the wanton persecution and killing of gay people, and that the perpetrators punished.”
Hossein Alizadeh, the ILGHRC’s Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator is quoted as saying: “The Iraqi government is responsible for the protection of all Iraqi citizens, including the members of the gay and lesbian community. We call on the Iraqi authorities to immediately intervene to protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and to bring to justice those who are responsible for these atrocities. We particularly demand the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights denounce the anti-gay violence in Iraq and launch an official investigation into these heinous crimes.”
As mentioned above, a wave of violence against LGBT citizens in Iraq was widely reported in 2009.
Care2 will continue to follow and clarify these reports as more details emerge.