Al-Sumaria posted a story to its website on Aug. 23 that said militants with the Sunni extremist group threw “nine civilians off a tall building” in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul “on charges of sexual perversion.” The television station cited an anonymous source who said militants “gathered a number of citizens in the city to witness the implementation of the judgment of the so-called ‘Sharia judge.’”
Al-Sumaria said the reported executions took place on Aug. 23.
State Department spokesperson John Kirby on Wednesday during his daily press briefing acknowledged that he has seen reports of the reported executions. He — like advocates who work in the region — stressed to the Washington Blade that reports, such as those that al-Sumaria published, remain “difficult to confirm.”
“We’ve seen them and we’re deeply troubled by that,” said Kirby. “And if it’s true, it’s just another example of the barbarity of this group.”
The executions that al-Sumaria reported took place in Mosul happened a day before the U.N. Security Council held a meeting to discuss the Islamic State’s continued persecution of LGBT Iraqis and Syrians who live under its control.
A gay Iraqi man using a pseudonym to protect his identity spoke to the council via telephone. Subhi Nahas, a gay man from the Syrian city of Idleb who now lives in San Francisco after receiving refugee status from the U.N. High Commission on Refugees, also took part.
Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, told reporters after the meeting that her group has documented the executions of at least 30 men whom Islamic State militants have accused of sodomy.
A source in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan that is less than 60 miles east of Mosul, described the reported executions as “beyond horrific.”
“Not since Nazi Germany have we seen this kind of glee at being utterly cruel to humans,” said the source, who asked the Blade not to publish their name.
The source said some LGBT people in Irbil, which is not under Islamic State control, remain concerned the Sunni militant group could make additional advances in the region. The source stressed the situation in the city “is generally ok” because of U.S. and coalition airstrikes and Kurdish forces, known as the peshmerga, have thus far kept Islamic State militants at bay.
“You know how people are, many prefer to ignore horror and live each day,” the source told the Blade.
Non-ISIS militant groups continue to target LGBT Syrians, Iraqis
Nahas said during the council meeting that he fled his hometown in 2012 after Jabhat al-Nusra, a militant group affiliated with al-Qaida, threatened to “cleanse the town of those involved in sodomy.”Other advocates with whom the Blade has spoken over the last year said the Islamic State is not the only organization from which LGBT Syrians and Iraqis face a threat.
Amhed Danny Ramadan, a gay Syrian journalist who now lives in Canada, told the Blade during a 2014 interview from the Lebanese capital of Beirut that extremists were killing gay men in his war-torn homeland as they did in Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled then-President Saddam Hussein. Bertho Makso, a gay Lebanese man who founded Proud Lebanon, a Beirut-based group that works with LGBT Syrian refugees, said he has heard stories of militants decapitating gay people and hanging a transgender woman by her breasts.