Gay men tortured, executed in Iraq, Human Rights Watch says

iraqi-gays-tortured-executed

Hundreds of men suspected of homosexual conduct have been tortured and executed in Iraq in recent months, some by the country’s militia forces, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday.

The New-York based watchdog group said the killings began earlier this year in Sadr City, a suburb district of Baghdad, and had since spread to many cities across Iraq.

According to the 67-page report, members of the Mehdi Army militia group are spearheading the campaign, but police are also accused even though homosexuality is legal. It is almost impossible to calculate how many men were killed, but estimated the figure in the hundreds.

Men have been threatened with “honor killings” by relatives worried that their “unmanly behavior” will ruin the family’s reputation, the organization reported.

“Iraq’s leaders are supposed to defend all Iraqis, not abandon them to armed agents of hate,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program of HRW. “Turning a blind eye to torture and murder threatens the rights and life of every Iraqi.”

The organization said a commonly reported form of torture involved injecting super glue into men’s rectums and forcing them to drink laxatives. The torture is lethal because it causes the victim’s digestive system to explode.

One man told HRW that militiamen kidnapped and killed his partner of 10 years in April: “It was late one night, and they came to take my partner at his parents’ home. Four armed men barged into the house, masked and wearing black. They asked for him by name; they insulted him and took him in front of his parents. … He was found in the neighborhood the day after. They had thrown his corpse in the garbage. His genitals were cut off and a piece of his throat was ripped out.”

Homosexuality was tacitly accepted during the last years of Saddam Hussein’s regime, but Iraqis have long viewed it as taboo and disgraceful.

[Image via flickr]