Iraq turns a ‘blind eye’ to torture, murder of gay menAugust 17th, 2009 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS
Baghdad, Aug 17 (DPA) The Iraqi government has done nothing to stop militias’ torture and murder of gay men, the US-based Human Rights Watch said in a report released Monday.
The organisation estimated that hundreds of gay men have been tortured and murdered in Baghdad on suspicion of engaging in homosexual behaviour this year, following a campaign of incitement from leaders of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi Army.
“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 Programme at Human Rights Watch.
“Turning a blind eye to torture and murder threatens the rights and life of every Iraqi.”
Witnesses and survivors told Human Rights Watch that masked men have pulled suspected homosexuals out of their homes at night, then murdered them, or attacked them in the street. Many of the victims suffered grisly torture before their death, the organisation said.
The New York-based group said the Iraqi government had “done nothing” to stop the killings, and that some of the people of the organisation’s researchers interviewed had accused Iraqi security forces of assisting in the attacks.
The group said a man it interviewed in April described being tied from the ceiling and gang-raped by interior ministry officers over the course of days.
“They beat me all over my body,” the man, identified in the report by the pseudonym “Nuri”, told the group’s researcher. “When they had me hanging upside down, they used me like a punching bag … They used electric prods all over my body.”
“Then they raped me,” he continued. “Over three days. The first day, 15 of them raped me; the second day, six; the third day, four. There was a bag on my head every time.”
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