Human rights activists have expressed shock at claims that Iraqi police were responsible for the summary “execution” of Ahmed Khalil, a 14 year old teenager, because he was gay.

According to reports by London-based gay human rights group OutRage!, the 14 year old boy was shot by police in the al-Dura district of Baghdad last month.

Ali Hili, Middle East Affairs spokesperson for OutRage!, says that the attack was witnessed by a neighbour who claims to have seen four policemen drag Khalil out of his house into the street where he was allegedly repeatedly shot at point blank range.

Khalil was apparently accused of prostitution and “corrupting the community” by having sex with other men – accusations that are said to have led to the murder.

Hili described Khalil as “a victim of poverty” and says that he “was summarily executed, apparently by fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police”.

He adds that there is increasing evidence that conservative Shia militias have infiltrated the police and have been “inspired by the Shia spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has issued a death fatwa against lesbians and gays” via his website.

Hili further claims that the execution is part of a pattern in Iraq of similar murders of gays and lesbians, prostitutes and unveiled women, among others, whose actions do not confirm to the region’s fundamentalist morality.

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