The bodies of gay Iraqis said to have

been assassinated because of their sexuality

by religious death squads in 2009.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has received reports from Iraq of a wave of targeted killings of individuals who are perceived to be gay or lesbian.

Iraqi human rights activists told the organisation that in early February an unidentified group posted death threats against “the adulterous individuals” in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhoods of Baghdad and Basra.

The threats gave the individuals, whose names and ages were listed, four days to stop their behaviour or else face the wrath of God, and were to be carried out by the Mujahedin.

According to sources inside Iraq, as the result of this new surge of anti-gay violence close to 40 people have been kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered.

The Iraqi authorities have apparently neither responded to this targeted violence nor have they publicly denounced it. It is widely believed that these atrocities are being committed by a group of the Shiite militia.

“Today the Government of Iraq represents a fully sovereign and democratic country. As such, it must protect all of its citizens including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from hate-filled violence and death at the hands of armed militias,” said Cary Alan Johnson Executive Director of the IGLHRC.

“There are no excuses for such heinous human rights violations. We demand that the Iraqi Government put a stop to the wanton persecution and killing of gay people, and that the perpetrators punished.”

He noted that this is not the first time that these atrocities occurred in Iraq. In 2009, vigilantes murdered hundreds of Iraqi individuals for their perceived sexual orientation.

The organisation called on the Iraqi authorities to immediately intervene to protect the LGBT community, launch an official investigation into the crimes, and to bring to justice those who are responsible for the atrocities.

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