domenica 22 aprile 2012

Iraq was already Hell for gays, now it's even worse

Raid against gays in Iraq
The U.S. Army (CC)
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Anas (a nickname, of course) in complete secrecy and solitude, is one of the very few people who is trying to defend the rights of LGBTQ* people in Iraq. Anas, a courageous activist and contributor of Il Grande Colibrì, is a friend and having not heard him for a few weeks, we were really worried. Fortunately, he is in contact again: "I have to hide even more than before to maintain my safety," he explained. Below, Anas tells us what's going on in that Iraqi hell without end...

Since the first week of last February, barbaric attacks on LGBTQs have taken place, mainly in Baghdad. In addition some southern provinces have also reported similar attacks. The information concerning these attacks are based upon my monitoring and observation or other activists, along with the help of other web-based friends.

Where? Most of the attacks happened in Baghdad, and southern provinces where there are Shia majority populations (mainly in Basrah). Most of attacks in Baghdad have taken place in the eastern part of the city (Rusafa), especially in districts that are considered as the stronghold of Islamic Shia Militias like Jaish Al-Mahdi (Mahdi Army) and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous). While most attacks in Baghdad have been perpetuated and carried out by Jaish Al-Mahdi, in the southern provinces the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq are known as the one who have carried out these attacks. However, both of them use the same anti-LGBTQ slogan ("Cleanse the Salacious & Adulterous") according to list of names of 33 LGBTQ* persons that have hanging in walls and streets in the capital (mainly Sadr City district where police officers act as double agents for Jaish Al-Mahdi’s field leaders).

When? The first monitored attack took place in Baghdad on February 6th, 2012 in Sadr City district in Baghdad where the victim was a man. The last monitored one was on March 7th where two women became victims of these attacks in Shaab district in Baghdad. According to information received from families of the victims, medical staff reports from the hospitals, at least 45 people have been killed—the majority of them have been gay men in Baghdad. According to local news media sources, 90 people have died or been severely injured through these attacks. It was further reported that five individuals were killed inside the hospitals.

How? Jaish Al-Mahdi and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq attackers are notorious for using inhumane methods that include crushing the heads and limbs of their victims with concrete blocks, repeatedly until death (eyewitness). Some have been thrown or pushed from high buildings (media report). Some killings were done inside the hospitals against injured victims (confidential witness).

What? The Ministry of Interior, when questioned about these reports, denies there has been any attacks on LGBTQ persons, contradicting the media reports, photographs and eye-witness reports of these atrocities. While both Jaish Al-Mahdi and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq refused to comment, they have not denied any of these allegations.

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Some passages have been published also by A paper bird

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