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Judge to gay man: ‘You don’t deserve to live’

Iraqi refugee Ahmed (Photo courtesy of Iraq Refugee Assistance Project)
Iraqi refugee Ahmed (Photo courtesy of Iraq Refugee Assistance Project)

The agonizing tale of a young gay Iraqi man provides a glimpse into the homophobic culture in Iraq that has led to a wave of killings of youths who are gay or considered to be gay because they have adopted a goth-like “emo” appearance.

In a video newly released by the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, or IRAP Ahmed tells about fleeing from home when he learned that his uncles planned to kill him because he was gay. The uncles were preparing him for an “honor killing” to restore the family’s good name from the shame of having a gay family member.

In the video, Ahmed also tells of being apprehended by religious police who brought him before a judge.  The judge told him, “You are accused of being a homosexual. I want to tell you something: ‘You don’t deserve to live.’ ”

Ahmed was then imprisoned and subjected to an attempted rape by a prison guard. reported, “Ahmed was able to buy himself out of jail while awaiting trial and, thanks to the help of IRAP, his case ended with him gaining safe passage to the United States as a refugee.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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