The alleged slaying of as many as 58 “emo” Iraqi citizens who are either gay or believed to be gay has sparked concerns from international human rights organizations, with many fearing Iraq may be returning to the rampant level of hate crimes against homosexuals as seen in 2009.
As Out magazine is reporting, the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) recently released a video which aims to bring the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis into focus.
In the video, a gay man identified simply as Ahmed recalls the story of an ex-boyfriend’s betrayal and its aftermath. Ahmed’s boyfriend disclosed private photos of the couple to family members, after Ahmed had refused to continue financially supporting him. “One day my sister called me. She said that six of my uncles…received a small envelope under the main gates of their houses. A letter was written with the CD, ‘Your son is one of Baghdad’s biggest gay b*tches.” Ahmed claims his uncles were then planning to organize an “honor killing,” which have long been utilized by Islamic militas to preserve the idea that families should be led by opposite-sex partners, after receiving the package.
After Ahmed had an encounter with religious police, who took him to their high court, he is thrown into jail, where he claims he was subjected to rape and other abuses. “The judge said, ‘You are accused of being a homosexual. I want to tell you something. You don’t deserve to live, and you’re a shame for your family and the Iraqi nation.’”
As Reuters reports, death squads have been targeting two separate groups — gay men, and those who dress in a distinctive, Western-influenced style called “emo,” which some Iraqis mistakenly associate with homosexuality, since the start of this year. Fortunately for Ahmed, he was able to buy himself out of jail while awaiting trial and gain safe passage to the United States as a refugee.