Ali Hili, of OutRage! and Iraqi LGBT UK, was told about the execution of
Ahmed Khalil by gay friends in Baghdad. They knew Ahmed and his family, and
have collected eye-witness accounts from Ahmed’s neighbours, which they have
relayed to Mr Hili in London.
This is Mr Hili's story about the execution of Ahmed,
based on firsthand accounts given by eye-witnesses and neighbours
Ahmed Khalil was a likeable, playful 14 year old boy,
born in the southern Iraqi town of al-Ammara.
The eldest child, he came from an uneducated family who
lived in great poverty.
After the 2003 US-led invasion, the Iraqi economy
collapsed, causing widespread unemployment and the disintegration of social
With no income or welfare support in al-Ammara, Ahmed’s
family moved to Baghdad a couple of years ago, after the fall of Sadaam
His father wanted to find a job to support his wife, two
sons and daughter. The family settled in al-Dura, a very poor southern
district of Baghdad.
Ahmed’s father worked as a night watchman on a building
site for the pitiful wage of 10 dollars a month, plus permission for him and
his family to live on the site until the construction of the new houses was
completed. They lived in the shell of the unfinished buildings. It was a
life of desolation and destitution.
Ahmed was often bullied by the neighbourhood boys for
being poor. He had no one to protect him.
It is unclear whether Ahmed was gay or not. He had sex
with men, often in exchange for small amounts of money and food. He did
this in order to help his family financially. Sometimes they were so
desperate, he had sex for a few potatoes or some bread.
Ahmed’s ‘gay’ reputation spread all over his
neighbourhood, causing great scandal. His behaviour was reported to the
police by informants in the community.
In early April 2006, Ahmed was found dead on the doorstep
of his house. He had been shot, with two bullets in the head and several
bullets in the rest of his body.
According to a neighbour, who saw Ahmed’s execution from
his bedroom window, four uniformed police officers arrived at Ahmed's house
in a four-wheel-drive police pick-up truck. The neighbour saw the police
drag Ahmed out of the house and shoot him at point-blank range.
Several other neighbours confirm this account, although
they did not see the actual shooting. They say they heard gunshots and saw
the police leaving the scene. They then found Ahmed’s body lying on the
ground outside his house. It is believed by these neighbours that Ahmed was
executed by the police.
Two days before Ahmed’s execution, his father was
arrested and interrogated by the police. They demanded to know what he knew
about Ahmed’s sexual activities and blamed Ahmed for corrupting the
community. Officers eventually released Ahmed’s father. His son was killed
Both Ahmed's mother and father wept over their sons’
brutal killing. Even though homosexuality is taboo, they did not agree he
deserved to die. The family see him as a victim of poverty and police
Because they are so poor, the family could not afford a
funeral for their son.
The day after Ahmed was murdered, his family moved out of
the area, fearing police retribution and denunciation within the local
community. The family’s whereabouts and fate is unknown.
Ahmed is one of many hundreds of teenage boys and girls
in Iraq who sell their bodies to survive and support their impoverished
Our gay contacts in Baghdad condemn the sexual
exploitation of young people. They are endeavouring to help rescue
teenagers pressured into prostitution.
Iraqi LGBT in London and Baghdad call on the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Red Cross and Red Cresent and
international aid agencies to take action to aid poor Iraqi families, so
that children no longer feel obliged to resort to sex-for-money in order to
Donations to help Iraqi LGBT in the UK and in Iraq should
be made payable to “OutRage!”, with a cover note marked “For Iraqi LGBT”,
and sent to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT, England, UK.
■ Ali Hili and the Iraqi feminist activist, Houzan
Mahmoud, will address a public meeting, Women, Gays & Secularism in Post-War
Iraq, co-sponsored by OutRage! and the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association,
on Friday May 19 at 7pm in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1.