Saturday, May 06, 2006

Gay teen shot in Iraq

14-year-old Ahmed Khalil has been shot, according to witnesses, by Iraqi police officers for being gay.

According to his neighbours in the al-Dura area of Baghdad, Khalil was shot at point-blank range, after a scuffle with the police.

Ali Hili, an exiled gay Iraqi who is Middle East Affairs spokesperson for the London-based gay human rights group OutRage! Said :

"According to a neighbour, who witnessed Ahmed's execution from his bedroom window, four uniformed police officers arrived at Ahmed's house in a four-wheel-drive police pick-up truck."

"The neighbour saw the police drag Ahmed out of the house and shoot him at point-blank range, pumping two bullets into his head and several more bullets into the rest of his body,"

Hili claimed that Ahmed was a "victim of poverty" and apparently killed by "fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police".

It is believed Ahmed slept with men for money to support his poverty-stricken family. They have since fled the area.

Mr Hili is coordinator of the Iraqi LGBT UK group, consisting of more than 30 Iraqi gay exiles in the UK. They are in contact with an underground network of gay people in Baghdad and other cities.

Rainbow for Life, an Iraqi gay group, has blamed the killing spree on the Badr Corps, the military arm of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the country's most powerful Shiite group.

A Rainbow spokesman told IRIN, "We know for certain that those killed were targeted because of their sexual preferences."

Homosexuality is considered sinful in Islamic countries, but an anti-gay edict issued by the revered Shiite Muslim leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in October has unleashed what amounts to a pogrom against gays and lesbians, according to accounts by gay Iraqis.