Current Affairs

US military investigating Iraqi gay executions claim

Jessica Geen August 5, 2009
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The US military is investigating claims that US soldiers committed atrocities against gay Iraqi civilians.

Last week, two gay Iraqi refugees sparked astonishment at a LGBT meeting in Lebanon when they showed graphic images of beheaded corpses and photographs which apparently depicted US soldiers preparing to execute a group of naked, chained men. They claimed the men were gay civillians.

One of the refugees, known as Hussam, said he had images of the aftermath of the execution but would not give them to a Washington Blade reporter who was present.

Since the story broke, an investigator from the Army Criminal Investigative Command contacted the Blade for more information. Army CIC spokesman Chris Grey said he was not able to discuss details of the investigation.

Democrat representative Barney Frank, who is the longest-standing gay Congressman, has also said he will probe the claims.

His spokesman said Frank felt the charge serious enough to warrant investigation.

The claims were made last Friday in front of an audience of around 70 at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters in Lebanon.

Those who attended the meeting donated around $6,000 to benefit Helem, a not-for-profit gay group in Lebanon. One man present told the Blade he increased his donation after viewing the images.

A number of campaigners have doubted the credibility of the charges.

Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch, which co-sponsored the meeting, said he had just returned from a fact-finding trip to Iraq and had seen no evidence of the claims.

Ali Hili, of the London-based Iraqi LGBT group, told he did not believe the refugees’ story.

He added he had heard similar claims over eight months ago from a man who said he had photographs of alleged atrocities and was trying to get compensation. Hili said the man had changed his story three times in the space of a week.

Related topics: Middle East

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