In reports in the U.K. Observer and on Britain’s Channel 4, reporter Jennifer Copestake has provided further documentation of the wave of anti-gay executions being carried out by Shiite militias in Iraq. These murders were first reported by Doug Ireland in a Gay City News cover story in March, available at gaycitynews.com/gcn_511/iraq.html.
The killings not only target Iraqis known to be gay, but also young people who are forced into same-sex prostitution. Her reporting documents the murder of Ameer Hasoon al-Hasani, an 11-year-old who was known to have been sexually victimized and was subsequently kidnapped by police and shot in the head. Her television reporting included the death certificate of at least one other child murdered in this manner. Copestake explained that the escalating violence is part of a Shiite campaign against “immorals,” which makes no distinction between voluntary and involuntary same-sex behavior. She also reported that high-ranking Iraqi clerics have urged death to gays on national television. The Iraqi Interior Ministry declined comment when Copestake asked about the killings.
As Ireland reported, Ali Hili, who runs the Iraqi LGBT group of London, continues to document the wave of brutal repression and work with exiles seeking asylum. Copestake spoke to Dr. Haider Jaber who fled Iraq in 2004 after being brutally beaten by a group of five men, as a crowd watched. His partner Ali was less fortunate; he was murdered and then denied a burial. Ibaa Alawi, a former British Embassy worker who is gay, also fled, but he told Copestake that the British Home Office informed him he is not at risk in Iraq and his asylum bid was denied.—Paul Schindler
Copestake’s Channel 4 report can be viewed at channel4.com/more4/news/news-opinion-feature.jsp?id=347.