Iraqi gays face torture

BEIRUT - Iraqi militias are increasingly torturing and executing men suspected of homosexuality, but the authorities in Baghdad are doing nothing to stop the violence, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday.

BEIRUT - Iraqi militias are increasingly torturing and executing men suspected of homosexuality, but the authorities in Baghdad are doing nothing to stop the violence, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday.

The New York-based group said hundreds of men had been kidnapped, tortured and killed this year in a wave of violence that began in the Baghdad Sadr City stronghold of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army militia.

The report, released in Lebanon and titled "They want us exterminated: Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq," said it was almost impossible to calculate how many men were killed, but estimated the figure in the hundreds.

Mahdi army spokespersons have suggested that military action was the remedy for the "feminisation" of Iraq men, according to the report in which survivors are quoted as saying militiamen invade homes and interrogate victims before killing them. HRW said Iraqi doctors and morgue employees also have records of grotesque torture marks on the bodies of men, including mutilation and even anuses glued shut. - Sapa-AFP

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