Threatening fliers have been posted around the impoverished Shiite enclave of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad targeting homosexuals, according to residents.
If you don't cease your perverted acts, you will get your fair punishment, read the warnings, which were posted on walls on a variety of streets around the neighborhood.
On some were scrawled the names of two or three local men suspected of being gay. The fliers were signed by a previously unknown group calling itself the Platoons of Righteousness.
In addition, graffiti reading we will get you, puppies -- a derogatory Iraqi term for gays -- was sprayed on walls in red paint.
Residents said the fliers and graffiti were removed after a few hours, though it wasn't clear by whom.
Police said the bodies of three slain men who were suspected of being gay were found earlier this month in Sadr City, and news reports say at least 25 homosexual men have been murdered in Baghdad over the last two months.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission writes: The following is a translation of a story from Alarabiya, a UAE-based media network, which was published on its Arabic website a few hours ago. While IGLHRC has not verified all of the
allegations, many are consistent with patterns of human rights violations being reported from within the country:
A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using Iranian gum. ... Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net that: Iraqi
militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.
According to her, the new substance is known as the American hum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they
give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.
According to this human rights activist, for the past 3 weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted. She says that the persecution of homosexuals
is not confined to the Shiite clerics. Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.
Iraqi gays are being targeted and killed in what rights campaigners say is some of the worst violence against the community in recent years.
At least 68 gay and transgendered men have been killed over the last four months, according to the London-based rights advocacy group Iraqi LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), bringing the total number of killings of Iraqis because of their
sexuality to 678 since 2004.
New York-based Human Rights Watch, which recently conducted field investigations on the violence, estimates that hundreds of homosexual men may have been killed in recent months. Scott Long, a senior Human Rights Watch representative, described the
killings as an extraordinarily brutal campaign targeting gay, transgender and effeminate men in several provinces.
Iraqi LGBT and HRW believe that Shia militias are the primary perpetrators of the violence and say the majority of killings have occurred in Shia areas in south/central Iraq (including the towns of Ammarah, Najaf, Karbala and Basra) and Baghdad's Sadr
City district, the stronghold of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army.
While no group has said it's behind the killings, Iraqi LGBT and HRW believe that elements of the Mehdi Army may be among the militants implicated in the violence, particularly in Sadr City.
Long suggested that some members of Mehdi Army were trying to act as agents of moral regeneration in an attempt to regain some control over Shia neighbourhoods, following massive military operations that weakened the militia: It is pretty clear
that sermons started being preached in Shia mosques, particularly ones in areas that are heavily influenced by the Sadrists earlier this year, on the dangers of homosexuality [in the weeks prior to the wave of killings].
Sitting on the floor, wearing traditional Islamic clothes and holding an old notebook, Abu Hamizi, 22, spends at least six hours a day searching internet chatrooms linked to gay websites. He is not looking for new friends, but for victims.
It is the easiest way to find those people who are destroying Islam and who want to dirty the reputation we took centuries to build up, he said. When he finds them, Hamizi arranges for them to be attacked and sometimes killed.
Made up of hardline extremists, Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone.
The deputy leader of the group, which is based in Baghdad, explained its campaign using a stream of homophobic invective. Animals deserve more pity than the dirty people who practise such sexual depraved acts, he told the Observer: We make sure
they know why they are being held and give them the chance to ask God's forgiveness before they are killed.
The killings are brutal, with victims ritually tortured. Azhar al-Saeed's son was one. "He didn't follow what Islamic doctrine tells but he was a good son," she said. Three days after his kidnapping, I found a note on my door with
blood spread over it and a message saying it was my son's purified blood and telling me where to find his body.
She went with police to find her son's remains: We found his body with signs of torture, his anus filled with glue and without his genitals. I will carry this image with me until my dying day.