Iraqi militias have been using a particularly brutal form of torture against homosexual men that involves gluing the buttocks together and feeding them laxatives, an Iraqi human rights activist revealed last week.
“An anti-gay group uses a very strong form of glue that if applied, sticks to the skin so tight that it can only be removed surgically” Yenar Mohamed, the first human rights activist to reveal this issue, told AlArabiya.net.
"After the buttocks have been glued together, the victim is given a laxative," Mohamed added. Because they are not able to defecate, the diarrhea eventually leads to death.
The painful torture process was filmed on mobile phones and distributed all over Iraq. The campaign on gays, Mohamed said, was launched three weeks ago after fatwas, religious decrees, calling for their killing, were issued by clerics.
Mohamed attributed the rise of homosexuality in Iraq to the growing conservatism in society which makes mingling between sexes increasingly difficult.
He pointed out that gays were targeted by both Sunni and Shiite militias and that the fatwas calling for their killing have been broadcast on satellite channels for thousands to hear.
According to earlier press reports, a group called Ahl al-Haq (The Righteous) is targeting gays in the Bagdad slum of Sadr City and has managed to kill several people. The group allegedly published a list with the names of 10 gay men and wrote: "We will kill you, sinners." Bodies of three homosexual men were found in the area shortly after.
"Homosexuality is not a choice"
Hassan, from the London-based Iraqi Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender organization (LGBT), confirmed reports that glue was used to torture homosexuals and said some survivors were even denied treatment in Iraqi hospitals.
"Sixty-three people have been tortured so far," Hassan told AlArabiya.net.
Although estimating the number homosexuals in Iraq is a challenge, Hassan noted that international studies estimate that homosexuals make up to 10 percent of any society.
Shiites may be more supportive of the anti-gay campaign since the majority of the torturing and killing has taken place in predominantly Shiite areas, said Hassan.
The Iraqi defense ministry reported that in April six gay men were shot to death in a Shiite-controlled part of Baghdad. Two of them had pieces of paper attached to them with the word “pervert” written on it.
"I tell them all that homosexuality is not a choice. It is something we are born with," Hassan added.
He also criticized the American and British governments for not condemning the killings and attributed their silence to not wanting to antagonize the Iraqi government.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)