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'No credible evidence' US troops killed Gay Iraqis
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'No credible evidence' US troops killed Gay Iraqis

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

There is 'no credible evidence' US troops participated in atrocities against Gay Iraqis, a US Army spokesperson said August 11.

US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) spokesperson Chris Grey circulated an e-mail announcing the results of an internal Army investigation into charges made by a Gay Iraqi refugee at a July 24 HRC fundraiser.

Using the alias "Hussam," the Iraqi refugee displayed photographs he claimed showed US troops guarding Gay Iraqis prior to execution. Hussam also displayed gruesome photos of corpses he alleged were Gay Iraqis after their murder by US forces.

According to Grey's report, "In a sworn statement to Special Agents, the individual giving the presentation at the 24 July fundraiser said his words were taken out of context, he was misunderstood due to language barriers, and he was misquoted."

"He stated that although he did show disturbing photographs at the event, the photographs of sectarian violence were in no way linked to US service members," the report continued. "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."

Had US service members killed the Iraqis as alleged, it would constitute a violation of international law under the Geneva Convention or the Uniform Code of Military Justice, depending on the circumstances.

Hussam's charges were reported in the Washington Blade newspaper last week, and brought an immediate response from Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) who promised to launch a Congressional investigation.

The US Army CID also began to investigate Hussam's allegations. The Washington Blade reported that it had been contacted by a CID investigator seeking information on its story. The CID is charged with investigating crimes in which the Army is - or might be - a party of interest.

According to the Washington Blade, Hussam never admitted inaccuracies in any of his subsequent contacts with them, although he refused to allow the newspaper to examine the photos of the alleged atrocities.

HRC praised the Army for addressing the matter promptly. In a response to the Army's statement, HRC spokesperson Trevor Thomas said, "We applaud the U.S. Army for moving quickly and immediately launching an investigation."

The safety of Iraq's Gay citizens has been a matter of international concern since reports began to surface earlier this year that Iraqi militias were torturing and murdering Gay men. Openly Gay US Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) visited Iraq in April, met with Gay Iraqis, and called for greater US attention to their safety.

Ali Hili, founder of the London-based group Iraqi LGBT, has been in contact with Polis but expressed skepticism about Hussam's claims. Hili said in an e-mail that until he sees real evidence that US troops are committing these atrocities, he believes the claims to be "false and untrue."

"You have no idea how far can people go and what length to lie, to get money or asylum," Hili said. "I have told these people over and over that they will not only damage their situation, but they are doing great damages to our movement in Iraq by lying to benefit for only themselves."

Hili and Polis have suggested that the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior is behind the attacks on Iraqi Gays. The Ministry has reportedly been heavily infiltrated by the Mahdi Army and Badr Brigade Shia militias.

Under the Saddam Hussein regime, Iraqi Gays were not persecuted. Homosexuality was illegal but rarely prosecuted. Saddam was a secular Baathist and an enemy of the devout Shia parties which now control the Iraqi government.

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Warning: this story contains graphic details

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