Report: Gay men systematically targeted for torture, death in Iraq


A report released today by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch says hundreds of gay men have been tortured and killed in Iraq in recent months, some by the same security forces and militiamen who cooperate with the US military. HRW urges the Iraqi government to take action against the increasing victimization.

"Iraq's leaders are supposed to defend all Iraqis, not abandon them to armed agents of hate," says Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "Turning a blind eye to torture and murder threatens the rights and life of every Iraqi."

The report includes documentation of horrific and systematic torture, rape, and murder of victims. Some of it is really hard to read. One gay man who was targeted says,

They came to my parents' house a day later. I was out of the house when it happened. The neighbor's son has the same given name and so they kidnapped the wrong guy. When they found out they let the boy go, but they beat him severely-they wanted to kill him. They tortured him with electricity, they beat him with cables. He looked like a roast chicken when he came home.

In a BBC report, Iraqi gay rights campaigner Ali Hilli believes Iraq is the most dangerous place in the world for gay, lesbian, and transgendered people, and says that even during the Saddam years, there was greater sexual freedom for citizens: audio link.