12 Gay Men Face Execution by Libyan Militia
Startling reports out of Libya have surfaced and according to Gay Star News, 12 men may be mutilated and executed by an extremist Libyan Islamist militia group for allegedly being gay.
The militia busted the men's private party in Ain Zara, a suburb of the country's capital of Tripoli, on late Thursday night. They allegedly captured the men and took them hostage. Though the men's identities have not been revealed, the group posted pictures of the men on Facebook and describes them as the "third sex" -- a term used in the Arab Gulf area to denote gay men and lesbians.
The photos show the 12 men with their hands up against the wall and their faces covered. Gay Star News points out one of the men has a henna tattoo on his back. In another picture, the Quranic text placed into the image can be translated to "there is no power but the power of Allah."
As of this writing, the photo of the men has 133 "likes," 199 comments and 148 "shares." According to the article, some of the comments from Facebook read: "flog them hard!," "let them see bullets!," "Free Libya! [ie from gays]" and "ride them like camels."
The militia call themselves the "special deterrence unit," according to their Facebook page and they brag that they caught the men doing the "practices of the people of Lot," or engaging in gay sex. They also stated that they will mutilate and execute the men.
Officials from Human Rights Watch Libya also left a comment on the photo and said they hope the men will be treated humanely and urged the group to turn the men over to civil authorities. The civil rights group identified the militia as the Al-Nawasi militia, who are considered to be extreme Salafists, or Muslims who regard the Salaf (meaning ancestors) as prime examples of Islamic practice.
The article points out that in the past, the militia has been responsible for attacks against Sufi (another denomination within Islam) shrines and followers.
An LGBT activist from Libyan named Khaleed talked with Gay Star News about the incident.
"We never had any gay nightclubs in Libya, so it is not uncommon for Libyans - straight, bisexual and gay men to party in a private space, drink, dance, have fun and sometimes even have sex," Khaleed said. "That fact that they were captured by this extreme Salafist militia is very worrying. The situation for LGBT people after the revolution generally improved, people can meet each other more easily than under the Qadaffi [Gadaffi] regime, although, of course we still have to be very discreet and careful."
Khaleed added that many gay men in Libya fear that militias similar to Al-Newasi will focus on the LGBT community and "hunt us down."
"The police is largely absent or powerless so Libyan civil society has a real problem; the militias often take the law onto their own hands," he added. "That the Al Nawasi militia claims they are now part of the Ministry of Interior is very worrying; this move should be unacceptable to the public and to civil society groups."
Currently, Libya has outlawed same-sex sexually activity, and does not recognize gay marriage or any same-sex relationship. Additionally, the country has banned cross-dressing and several citizens in the conservative country view homosexuality as immoral.