Wednesday, May 17, 2006
A 14-year-old boy has been shot by Iraqi police officers for the apparent crime of being gay, the Independent of London reported.
According to his neighbors in Baghdad's al-Dura district, Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after a scuffle with the police.
Ali Hili, an exiled gay Iraqi who is Middle East affairs spokesman for the London gay rights group OutRage! said, "According to a neighbor, who witnessed Ahmed's execution from his bedroom window, four uniformed police officers arrived at Ahmed's house in a four-wheel-drive police pick-up truck."
"The neighbor saw the police drag Ahmed out of the house and shoot him at point-blank range, pumping two bullets into his head and several more bullets into the rest of his body."
Hili claimed that Ahmed was a "victim of poverty" and apparently killed by "fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police."
It is believed Ahmed slept with men for money to support his poverty-stricken family. They have since fled the area.
Hili is coordinator of a U.K. group consisting of more than 30 Iraqi gay exiles. They are in contact with an underground network of gay people in Baghdad and other cities.
Human rights groups have condemned the murder, which is part of a pattern of anti-gay killings in Iraq, rights groups say.
Rainbow for Life, an Iraqi gay group, has blamed the killing spree on the Badr Corps, the military arm of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the country's most powerful Shiite Muslim group.
A Rainbow spokesman told IRIN, "We know for certain that those killed were targeted because of their sexual preferences."
Homosexuality is considered sinful in Islamic countries, but an anti-gay edict issued by the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in October has unleashed what amounts to a pogrom against gay men and lesbians, gay Iraqis say.
But wait, there's more! Apparently the death squads in Iraq have been targeting gay victims. I have to admit, this is completely new to me, and, well, I guess not that surprising. How long until Sharia?
Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays
Three Years On, Americans Ignore Pleas of Repression Even Worse than Saddam’s
BY DOUG IRELAND
Courtesy OutRage! London
Left, Ammar, aged 27, was abducted and shot in back of the head in Baghdad by suspected Badr militias in January 2006. Right, Haydar Faiek, aged 40, a transsexual Iraqi, was beaten and burned to death by Badr militias in September 2005.
Following a death-to-gays fatwa issued last October by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, death squads of the Badr Corps have been systematically targeting gay Iraqis for persecution and execution, gay Iraqis say. But when they ask for help and protection from U.S. occupying authorities in the Green Zone, the secure area officialdom has carved out within Baghdad, gays Iraqis are met with indifference and derision.
“The Badr Corps is committed to the sexual cleansing of Iraq,” said Ali Hili, a 33-year-old gay Iraqi exile in London who, with some 30 other gay Iraqis who have fled to the United Kingdom, five months ago founded the Abu Nawas Group there to support persecuted gay Iraqis. The group is named for a revered eighth-century classical poet of Arab and Persian descent known throughout Middle East cultures and famous for his poems in praise of same-sex love.
“We believe that the Badr Corps is receiving advice from Iran on how to target gay people,” Hili told Gay City News.
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been carrying out a lethal anti-gay pogrom, notably through entrapment schemes carried out on the Internet. The Badr Corps in Iraq has recently begun to use this tactic to identify and hunt down Iraqi gays.
The well-armed Badr Corps is the military arm of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the powerful Shia group that is the largest political formation in Iraq’s Shia community, and was headquartered in exile in Tehran until Saddam Hussein’s fall. The SCIRI’s Badr Corps is trained and commanded by former Iraqi army officers.
The Ayatollah Sistani, the 77-year-old Iranian-born cleric who is the supreme Shia authority in Iraq, is revered by SCIRI as its spiritual leader. His anti-gay fatwa—available on Sistani’s official Web site—says that “people involved” in homosexuality “should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.”
Speaking by telephone from London, Hili said that “there is a very, very serious threat to life for gay people in Iraq today. We are receiving regular reports from our extensive network of contacts with underground gay activists and gay people in Iraq—intimidation, beatings, kidnappings, and murders of gays have become an almost daily occurrence. The Badr Corps was killing gay people even before the ayatollah’s fatwa, but Sistani’s murderous homophobic incitement has given a green light to all Shia Muslims to hunt and kill lesbians and gay men.”
Now, Hili said, “when Badr thugs attack and beat up a gay person in the street, crowds of passers-by gather around to cheer them on.”
“Badr Corps agents have a network of informers who, among other things, target alleged immoral behavior,” Hili continued. “They kill gays, unveiled women, prostitutes, people who sell or drink alcohol, and those who listen to Western music and wear Western fashions.”
“Badr militants are entrapping gay men via Internet chat rooms,” Hili said. “They arrange a date, and then beat and kill the victim. Males who are unmarried by the age of 30 or 35 are placed under surveillance on suspicion of being gay, as are effeminate men. They will be investigated and warned to get married.
“Badr will typically give them a month to change their ways. If they don’t change their behavior, or if they fail to show evidence that they plan to get married, they will be arrested, disappear, and eventually be found dead. The bodies are usually discovered with their hands bound behind their back, blindfolds over their eyes, and bullet wounds to the back of the head.”
Tahseen is an underground gay activist in Iraq, and a correspondent there for the British Abu Nawas Group. A 31-year-old photography lab technician, Tahseen told Gay City News by telephone from Baghdad this weekend, “Just last week, four gay people we know of were found dead. I am afraid to leave my room and go out in the street because I will be killed. We all live in fear.”
Tahseen said that men who seem obviously gay “cannot walk in the street. My best friend was recently killed for being gay.”