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‘No evidence’ of US atrocities against gay Iraqi civilians

Jessica Geen August 12, 2009
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The US military has confirmed no evidence has been found of US soldiers committing atrocities against gay Iraqi civilians.

Last month, two Iraqi refugees claimed they had photographic evidence of US troops executing gay men.

They 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 civilians.

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.

The men then asked the 70-member audience to donate money to Helem, a not-for-profit gay group in Lebanon.

An army probe was launched when the allegations surfaced.

However, a spokesman confirmed in an email to the Blade yesterday that no “credible evidence” had been found to support the accusations.

He also revealed that in a sworn statement, Hussam said his words had been taken out of context, misquoted and misunderstood due to language barriers.

The Blade has stated he had ample opportunity to correct the allegations as it reported them at the time.

In the statement, Hussam agreed he had shown the disturbing photographs but had not linked them to US soldiers.

The spokesman said: “He also said he never witnessed any actions of US soldiers that he would classify as criminal or any evidence of US service members targeting Iraqi men or women because of their sexual orientation.”

He added that it was customary to remove the clothes of detainees because insurgents often wore suicide vests.

Hussam’s claims were greeted with skepticism by many of those working with gays in Iraq.

Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch, which co-sponsored the Lebanon 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.

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