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International News - Rex Wockner
International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Iraqi Gays have anuses glued shut, are fed laxatives
Iraqi Gays are being shot to death by militias and anti-Gay family and tribe members, allegedly executed by the government, and - in the latest twist - are having their anuses glued shut by death squads.

Human Rights Watch on April 20 confirmed the newest method being used to cull the Iraqi Gay population.

Gay men are captured, their anuses are superglued with something called "American gum," they are forced to ingest a diarrhea-causing substance, and they sometimes die.

Mobile phone videos of the gruesome practice are said to be circulating in Iraq.

Reports said the special glue can only be removed surgically, and HRW said it had communicated with doctors who were aware of the practice.

"The glue stories appear to be true - we've collected several accounts of them," said Scott Long, director of HRW's LGBT Rights Division, speaking from Iraq.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 25 Gays have been murdered in Baghdad by militias or tribe members who have disowned them. And the group Iraqi LGBT says at least 63 of its members have been tortured.

In addition, five or six members of the group reportedly have been sentenced to death by the government for the alleged crime of belonging to a banned organization. According to U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., at least one of the condemned men has been executed and one managed to escape custody.

"Massive abuses are taking place in Baghdad, and apparently in other cities in the center and south," HRW's Long said. "What's not clear yet is which forces are responsible, and the government's exact role in the violence. We may never know the full sweep and scope of the killings so far, amid a pervasive insecurity that brutalizes innumerable people and devastates multiple communities; but we are doing everything we can to determine and document accountability, something which can best be ascertained through the direct experience of the survivors."

For this column's previous reports on the ongoing anti-Gay nightmare in Iraq, see tinyurl.com/c2kapu and tinyurl.com/cnl4y6.

Jailed Senegal Gays freed
Nine Senegalese men who were sent to prison for eight years on January 6 for engaging in Gay sex and belonging to a "criminal association" (the HIV agency AIDES Sénégal) saw their sentences overturned on appeal April 20, UNAIDS said.

The organization said pressure had been applied in the case by UNAIDS, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Swedish and French embassies. Dakar's Court of Appeal ordered the men be released from prison immediately.

The men were arrested in December 2008 in a raid on the apartment of Gay leader Diadji Diouf. Prosecutors used condoms and lube confiscated during the raid to "prove" that the men had engaged in Gay sex.

The men received the maximum five-year sentence for doing what the Penal Code calls "an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex" and three additional years for being members of the "criminal" HIV agency.

1,000 protest for Gay marriage in Ireland
Around 1,000 people rallied outside the Central Bank in Dublin, Ireland, April 19 in support of legalization of same-sex marriage.

Ireland is considering adopting a civil-partnership law, but the government is procrastinating on even that lesser project, said a spokesman for the group that organized the protest, LGBT Noise.

The group said the turnout for the demo far exceeded expectations.

Alberta halts sex-change operations
The Canadian province of Alberta's government-run health-care system has stopped paying for sex-change operations.

But 26 people who already have received the go-ahead for surgery will be covered, as will 20 other people who are close to receiving approval.

The province said the decision was made for budgetary reasons. Ending coverage for gender-reassignment surgery will save about $700,000 (US $560,000).

The province will save another $53 million by ending coverage for chiropractic visits.

Hungarian Parliament passes partnership law
Hungary's Parliament passed a registered-partnership law for same-sex couples April 20.

The measure passed 199-159, with support from the governing Socialist Party and the Alliance of Free Democrats. Other opposition parties opposed the bill.

A previous partnership law passed by Parliament was struck down by the Constitutional Court just before it was to take effect on January 1. The court said that law unconstitutionally would have granted marriage rights to heterosexual couples who registered, violating the special protection given to marriage by the constitution.

As a result of that ruling, the new law applies only to same-sex couples. It includes all the rights of marriage except in the areas of adoption, assisted reproduction, and the taking of one's spouse's last name.

President László Sólyom is expected to sign the measure. It will take effect two months later.

Kiev Gay bar raided
Under the guise of investigating the murder of a Gay man, officers from Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs raided the Kiev Gay club Androgin April 11.

More than 80 people were detained and taken to a police station where they were subjected to "rude and offensive treatment" and "force," said the Council of LGBT Organizations of Ukraine.

The clubgoers were fingerprinted, photographed and ordered to sign a letter stipulating that they had no problems with how they were treated by the officers.

The council said the reason given for the raid seemed bogus because police already had a photo of the suspect in the killing.

"The goal of the operation in Androgin club was not to identify the personality of the murderer but to threaten the LGBT community and collect personal data on visitors of the Gay club," the council said.

The council filed a complaint about the raid with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor's Office, requesting an investigation and punishment of any officers who acted improperly.

"All illegally collected personal data on homosexual people should be destroyed without delay," the council demanded.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

photo top: Scott Long
bottom:Jared Polis

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