A leading gay activist in Iraq was killed in Iraq on September 25, Pink News reported. It is not clear who initiated the attack. The 27-year-old man, known as Bashar, was an organizer of safe houses for gay men in Baghdad and a coordinator of the human rights group, Iraqi LGBT, in the capital city.
According to an account provided by LGBT human rights activist, Peter Tatchell, leader of the UK-based OutRage! organization, militias burst into a Baghdad barber shop and sprayed Bashar, a university student, with bullets.
“Bashar was a kind, generous and extremely brave young man; a true hero who put his life on the line to save the lives of others,” Tatchell said.
Violence targeting LGBT people in Iraq has grown markedly since 2005, when the leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa, or religious decree, declaring that gays and lesbians should be “killed in the worst, most severe way possible.”
According to a report published last year by the Human Rights Report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), there have been numerous homosexuals killed in Iraq. The UNAMI Human Rights Office “was also alerted to the existence of religious courts, supervised by clerics, where alleged homosexuals would be ‘tried,’ ‘sentenced’ to death, and then executed.”