Human Rights Watch on the lawless and viciously homophobic, “liberated” Iraq:
Who rules Iraq? If you ask Baghdad officials or the Obama administration’s proconsuls, they will tell you: a democratically elected Iraqi government, a triumphant product of the “purple revolution” that reflects the will of Iraq’s people.
If you ask Mashal, a shopkeeper from Baghdad’s al-Sha’ab neighbourhood, he has a different answer.
“Four men came into the shop,” he told us about one awful evening in April. “They pulled out guns. They were the Mahdi army.
“The place they took me to was very close to a mosque or actually in the courtyard – I could hear the call to prayer very clearly. When they hauled me out of the car, they beat me unconscious.
“Late the next day, they came to me and said, ‘We know you are gay.’ They pulled out a list of names and started reading them … I knew four who were still alive. One they had already killed.
“They interrogated me for three hours that night. They demanded I give them names of other gays. At night they got a broomstick. They used it to rape me.”