As security improves in Iraq, gay residents have embraced a new sense of freedom—and as a result, some 25 males thought to be homosexual have been murdered in Baghdad’s Sadr City in the past two months, the New York Times reports. The victims are usually found shot, sometimes with notes labeling them “perverts”—and the perpetrators are often ashamed family members, said a police chief.
In 2005, Iraq’s leading Shiite cleric called for the deaths of gays, and killing teams have likely been involved, says an official. But “our investigation has found that these incidents are being committed by relatives of the gays—not just because of the militias,” he said. “They are killing them because it is a shame on the family,” which often won’t cooperate with investigators or claim the bodies. (Read more Iraq stories.)