Iraqi teenagers perceived to be gay are being brutally killed and targeted by Shi’ite militias distributing lists warning of further assaults.
Medical officials have confirmed that at least 15 teenagers have been stoned, beaten to death – reports indicating some have had their heads smashed with concrete blocks – or shot dead in the past month.
The militia group, calling itself the ‘Brigades of Anger’, has posted leaflets naming 22 youths to be “punished”.
“We warn in the strongest terms to every male and female debauchee,” the Shi’ite militia hit list says. “If you do not stop this dirty act within four days, then the punishment of God will fall on you at the hands of Mujahideen.”
“Police generally take care of all these incidents,” said one of the officials, who declined to be named. “They don’t like medics or ambulances to take them. Two days ago, the body of a teenager was found in Bayaa – he was evacuated by police.”
Human rights groups, however, believe the death toll to be higher and accuse security forces of a cover up. Some reports suggest almost one hundred deaths this year alone.
Iraq has no law against homosexuality but prominent religious authorities harshly condemn it and violent militia groups have responded.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission believe there is a “new surge of anti-gay violence” in Iraq.
“We demand that the Iraqi government put a stop to the wanton persecution and killing of gay people and that the perpetrators be punished,” said the Commission’s executive director Cary Alan Johnson.
The term “emo” in Iraq is used to describe teenagers in tight-fitting black clothes and alternative hairstyles and is synonymous with being gay.
The emo movement is widely acknowledged for devil worshipping in Iraq with conservative cleric Muqtada al-Sadr believing emos are “fools” and a “lesion on the Muslim community.”