One of the victims: before and after being stoned.
The U.S. Department of State and its embassy in Baghdad have condemned the recent brutal killings of people identified as gay or as being part of the ’emo’ goth-like youth subculture that originated in the U.S.
According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), close to 40 people thought be gay or lesbian have been kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhoods of Baghdad and Basra since February.
Other reports say that at least 90 Iraqi teenagers who dress in the emo style – in Iraq sometimes associated with being gay – have been stoned to death in the last month. The blog Paper Bird posted gruesome pictures of victims, some of whose heads were apparently smashed with concrete blocks.
There are claims that both Iraq’s Morality Police and a radical militia group are behind the attacks and it appears that the government has simply ignored the massacre.
In a letter to the Mpetrelis blog, part of the groups and individuals in the U.S. campaigning against the murders, the American embassy in Baghdad on Sunday addressed the issue.
“This embassy shares your concern about the recent attacks in Iraq against individuals identified as gay or part of the ‘emo’ culture. When NGOs here in Iraq first brought this issue to our attention, we immediately expressed our concern to the Government of Iraq, urged immediate measures to combat this violence, and undertook to try to ascertain the details of these attacks,” wrote Michael McClellan, the embassy’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer.
“Along with the embassy, the U.S. Department of State strongly condemns the recent violence and killings in Iraq by groups who appear to be targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or personal expression. These acts of intolerance should have no place in any society.”
The embassy noted that a representative for Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani had condemned the violence and called the killings “terrorist attacks” and that the Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee within Iraq’s Parliament condemned these actions as well.
“I assure you and the members of your organisation that the embassy is fully engaged at the highest levels to end these attacks, bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure a secure and free future for all Iraqis,” added McClellan.
A protest vigil against the attacks on LGBT and emo Iraqis is planned to take place in San Francisco on Wednesday.