Iraqi gay and emo communities in fear of death squads, at least 14 dead so far Homosexuals have lived in fear in Iraq for years, notably since religious militia claimed control of the streets in the sectarian warfare that followed the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, which toppled Saddam Hussein. But Hurriya — whose adopted surname means “Freedom” in Arabic — says a surge in killings in the past two months is by far the worst he has seen.
Since the start of this year, death squads have been targeting two separate groups — gay men, and those who dress in a distinctive, Western-influenced style called “emo”, which some Iraqis mistakenly associate with homosexuality.
At least 14 young men have been bludgeoned to death in the last three weeks in east Baghdad, an area dominated by Shi’ite Muslims, according to local security and medical sources who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Photo: A gay activist known by his pseudonym Roby Hurriya shows pictures of his friend Saif Asmar before and after Asmar was killed. (Saad Shalash/Reuters)