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Friday, May 05, 2006

Iraqi police 'killed 14-year-old boy for being homosexual'

Iraqi Police execute 'gay' child

Ahmed, aged 14, shot dead on doorstep

Murdered to cleanse the community

Fundamentalist police blamed – Ahmed, gone but not forgotten

London – 4 May 2006

Iraqi police are accused of executing a 14 year old boy in the al-Dura
district of Baghdad in early April.

Ahmed Khalil was accused of corrupting the community and creating a
scandal because he had sex with men.

Ahmed was, in fact, a victim of poverty. He sold his body to get money
and food to help his impoverished family survive.

"According to a neighbour, who witnessed Ahmed's execution from his
bedroom window, four police officers arrived at Ahmed's
house in a four-wheel-drive police pick-up truck. The neighbour saw
the police drag Ahmed out of the house and shoot him at point-blank
range, pumping two bullets into his head and several more bullets into
the rest of his body," said Ali Hili, an exiled gay Iraqi who is
Middle East Affairs spokesperson for the London-based gay human rights
group OutRage!.

Mr Hili is also coordinator of the Iraqi LGBT – UK group, consisting
of more than 30 Iraqi gay exiles in the UK. They are in contact with
an underground network of gay people in Baghdad and other cities.

Mr Hili was given details of Ahmed's execution by his friends in
Baghdad, including J, a university graduate and professional, who
lives in the al-Dura area and who has spoken to eye-witnesses and
Ahmed's neighbours.

More details about Ahmed's life and death follow below.

Mr Hili said:

"Young Ahmed was a victim of poverty. He was summarily executed,
apparently by fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police.

"According to our contacts in Baghdad, the Iraqi police have been
heavily infiltrated by the Shia paramilitary Badr Corps. They are
seeking to impose a fundamentalist morality on the people of Iraq.

"The murder of Ahmed follows a pattern of Badr executions of suspected
gays and lesbians in Iraq. Badr are using their members in the police
to enforce the violent homophobia of Sharia law.

"Badr's policy is to murder gay people, prostitutes, unveiled women,
sellers and consumers of alcohol and people with Sunni-sounding names.

"Inspired by the Shia spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali
al-Sistani, who has issued a death fatwa against lesbians and gays,
Badr is kidnapping and executing people suspected of homosexuality,
even young kids.

"Our gay contacts in Baghdad condemn the sexual exploitation of young
people. They are working to help rescue teenagers pressured into
prostitution by their impoverished circumstances," said Mr Hili.

"We are greatly indebted to Ali Hili and his gay friends in Baghdad
for investigating the tragic murder of Ahmed and other gays and
lesbians," added Peter Tatchell, campaign coordinator of OutRage!.

"They are taking great personal risks to expose the wave of
fundamentalist-inspired homophobic killings. Documenting these brutal,
barbaric murders takes time and money. Our gay friends in Baghdad are
surviving on tiny incomes. We are trying to get them funding to cover
transport, phone bills, internet and email access, and the purchase of
a computer," said Mr Tatchell.

* Ali Hili and the Iraqi feminist activist, Houzan Mahmoud, will
address a public meeting, Women, Gays & Secularism in Post-War Iraq,
co-sponsored by OutRage! and the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association,
on Friday 19 May, 7pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1.
Further info: Brett Lock 0770 843 5917.

Donations to help Iraqi LGBT in the UK and in Iraq should be made
payable to "OutRage!", with a cover note marked "For Iraqi LGBT", and
sent to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT, England, UK.

Further information:

Ali Hili, Iraqi LGBT UK and OutRage! – 077 - 5755 6946


Ahmed's story – A cruel, barbaric death. Gone but not forgotten

Ali Hili, of OutRage! and Iraqi LGBT UK, was told about the execution
of Ahmed Khalil by gay friends in Baghdad. They knew Ahmed and his
family, and have collected eye-witness accounts from Ahmed's
neighbours, which they have relayed to Mr Hili in London.

This is Mr Hili's story about the execution of Ahmed, based on
firsthand accounts given by eye-witnesses and neighbours:

"Ahmed Khalil was a likeable, playful 14 year old boy, born in the
southern Iraqi town of al-Ammara," said Mr Hili.

"The eldest child, he came from an uneducated family who lived in great

"After the 2003 US-led invasion, the Iraqi economy collapsed, causing
widespread unemployment and the disintegration of social services.

"With no income or welfare support in al-Ammara, Ahmed's family moved
to Baghdad a couple of years ago, after the fall of Sadaam Hussein.

"His father wanted to find a job to support his wife, two sons and
daughter. The family settled in al-Dura, a very poor southern district
of Baghdad.

"Ahmed's father worked as a night watchman on a building site for the
pitiful wage of 10 dollars a month, plus permission for him and his
family to live on the site until the construction of the new houses
was completed. They lived in the shell of the unfinished buildings. It
was a life of desolation and destitution.

"Ahmed was often bullied by the neighbourhood boys for being poor. He
had no one to protect him.

"It is unclear whether Ahmed was gay or not. He had sex with men,
often in exchange for small amounts of money and food. He did this in
order to help his family financially. Sometimes they were so
desperate, he had sex for a few potatoes or some bread.

"Ahmed's 'gay' reputation spread all over his neighbourhood, causing
great scandal. His behaviour was reported to the police by informants
in the community.

"In early April 2006, Ahmed was found dead on the doorstep of his
house. He had been shot, with two bullets in the head and several
bullets in the rest of his body.

"According to a neighbour, who saw Ahmed's execution from his bedroom
window, four uniformed police officers arrived at Ahmed's house in a
four-wheel-drive police pick-up truck. The neighbour saw the police
drag Ahmed out of the house and shoot him at point-blank range.

"Several other neighbours confirm this account, although they did not
see the actual shooting. They say they heard gunshots and saw the
police leaving the scene. They then found Ahmed's body lying on the
ground outside his house. It is believed by these neighbours that
Ahmed was executed by the police.

"Two days before Ahmed's execution, his father was arrested and
interrogated by the police. They demanded to know what he knew about
Ahmed's sexual activities and blamed Ahmed for corrupting the
community. Officers eventually released Ahmed's father. His son was
killed soon afterwards.

"Both Ahmed's mother and father wept over their sons' brutal killing.
Even though homosexuality is taboo, they did not agree he deserved to
die. The family see him as a victim of poverty and police murder.

"Because they are so poor, the family could not afford a funeral for
their son.

"The day after Ahmed was murdered, his family moved out of the area,
fearing police retribution and denunciation within the local
community. The family's whereabouts and fate is unknown.

"Ahmed is one of many hundreds of teenage boys and girls in Iraq who
sell their bodies to survive and support their impoverished families.

"Our gay contacts in Baghdad condemn the sexual exploitation of young
people. They are endeavouring to help rescue teenagers pressured into

"Iraqi LGBT in London and Baghdad call on the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, the Red Cross and Red Cresent and
international aid agencies to take action to aid poor Iraqi families,
so that children no longer feel obliged to resort to sex-for-money in
order to survive," said Mr Hili.