Showing posts with label Beheadings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beheadings. Show all posts

August 8, 2016

Gay Friends of Syrian Beheaded in Turkey fear Same Fate



   


    
Three roommates (flatmates) of a gay Syrian refugee beheaded in a homophobic attack in Turkey last week fear they face a similar fate, after receiving death threats in the days since his murder.

Wisam Sankari, a hospital cleaner, went missing on 25 July after going to meet another gay man in Istanbul. His body was found two days later in a nearby area of Istanbul, his head severed and his battered body only identifiable to his friends by his clothing.

A week on, three of his flatmates say they fear being murdered in the same fashion after receiving warnings that the man Sankari met on 25 July wants to kill them too.

“There have been people in the street and people on the phone, who said: ‘He will get you next,’” said one of Sankari’s friends, a chef who, like his flatmates, asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons. “There was also a voice message on Facebook.”

In an interview with the Guardian in Sankari’s former room, a cramped lodging he shared with five other people, his friends said he had been in fear during the last months of his life after Turkish officials, UN diplomats and charity workers had proved unable to protect him following a series of homophobic attacks.

A Greek appeals board said in June that it considers Turkey safe enough for gay Syrians to be deported to as part of the controversial EU-Turkey migration deal. But Sankari’s friends say his experiences show how dangerous the country is for gay refugees, and unstable for refugees in general.

They alleged that in the months before his death, Sankari had:

*Been kidnapped and raped in two separate homophobic attacks.
*Been mocked and ignored by police officers after he reported one of the incidents.
*Eventually initiated legal proceedings against his unknown kidnappers after a local NGO helped him find a lawyer.
*Recorded a video in which he expressed fears that he might soon be killed in a homophobic attack.
*Briefly moved to another Turkish city in an unsuccessful attempt to find a safer place to live.
*Been fired from a factory job because of his sexuality.

“Do you call this safe?” summarised a second of Sankari’s flatmates, as they listened to their friend’s favourite song and watched a video made in his honour. “We don’t have an organisation to protect us. We want everyone in Europe to understand our situation here for Syrians, especially gays. We’re suffering.”

This was the third brutal attack Sankari had experienced, the flatmate continued. “Five months ago, he was attacked and his head was cut,” he said. “He went to the police, but they didn’t help him. [Another time] he was put in a car and he had to throw himself from it [to survive].” Then at 12.20am on 25 July, he got a call from a Syrian who had recently arrived in Istanbul. “He went to see him, and he never came back. Two days later we heard he was dead.”

Sankari’s murder was one of at least 20 homophobic attacks on Syrian refugees in the past six months, according to an activist who is documenting such incidents. “Turkey is not a safe place, it’s not a gay-friendly place,” said Hossam, a Syrian who organises a weekly support session for gay refugees in Istanbul, and who asked to be identified only by his first name. “And with the political situation in the country, it’s not getting better.”

More generally, Sankari’s friends said many of his other experiences showed how vulnerable life is for refugees of any sexuality in Turkey.

Despite recent legislative changes, the vast majority of the 2.7 million Syrians in Turkey have no realistic chance of accessing the legal labour market, forcing them to work illegally in exploitative conditions that contravene the UN refugee convention.

Sankari was one such case. His latest employers paid him about half the Turkish minimum wage (600 Turkish lira, or £150) for a hospital cleaning job that saw him work seven days a week. If he complained, he risked being fired; during previous employment as a waiter at a cafe, he was sacked for asking for time off to recover from illness.

 
“We’re working as animals,” said one of Sankari’s friends, a literature graduate who was a teacher in Syria but now works as a waiter in Turkey. “No one is working at what they studied for. We work here 12-13 hours a day. We don’t have a weekend. The Turks want us to work and work and work – without money or rights.”

Sankari’s battles with Turkish bureaucracy also highlight the basic logistical challenges Syrians face on a daily basis in Turkey. Sankari struggled to access support from aid groups and officials in Istanbul because he had first registered with the Turkish government in Hatay, a city near the country’s southern borders.

To apply for resettlement in the west, or to secure even basic support from government-affiliated NGOs, Sankari needed to return to Hatay. But he was scared to do so because of threats he had faced while briefly living there, said Hossam, who had met Sankari at his weekly drop-in session.
 
“He was desperately seeking help but he couldn’t reach anyone,” said Hossam.

It is a depressingly familiar situation, the activist added. “During my time with the group, I’ve witnessed a lot of serious threats, a lot of hate crimes, people who have experienced incidents that didn’t necessarily end their life, but [involved] beatings, rape and abuse,” said Hossam. “And those people couldn’t reach places where they felt safe and secure. They had to deal with this on their own.”

A senior government official said: “We are unable to independently verify the claim that the victim’s plea for assistance was ignored by law enforcement. Obviously, this barbaric attack doesn’t reflect the way Syrian refugees are treated in Turkey, which is the largest host of refugees in the world. We are investigating this incident and will take all necessary steps to bring perpetrators to justice.”

In a statement, the UN refugee agency said it was working to resettle LGBTI refugees currently living in Turkey, and expressed sadness about Sankari’s death. A spokesperson added: “We are very sorry and we would like to express our shock and sadness at this appalling crime. We are looking forward to seeing that investigation of the case by the officials concluded asap and perpetrators are brought to justice.

“Syrian refugees in Turkey are given temporary protection by the government of Turkey, which is primarily responsible for their protection in the country. UNHCR does not register or document Syrian refugees in Turkey.”

in Istanbul

August 5, 2016

Gay Syrian Refugee Raped and Beheaded in Anti GayTurkey







Muhammad Wisam SankariImage copyright
KAOSGL.ORG

Image captionMr Sankari's body was horribly mutilated, friends told a gay rights group




The headless, mutilated body of a gay Syrian man has been identified by gay housemates in Istanbul who say he had been gang-raped previously.

The friends of Muhammad Wisam Sankari told a Turkish gay rights group, kaosgl.org, that they had been threatened by violent male gangs.
“I am so scared," one of them said.

Mr Sankari, a refugee, arrived in Istanbul a year ago. His body was found in Yenikapi, a central district, on 25 July. No arrests have been made.
Kaosgl.org reported that Mr Sankari had been trying to get to another country as a refugee because his life was in danger.

One of his housemates, called Rayan, said a male group had kidnapped Mr Sankari about five months ago, beaten him up and raped him.
"We complained to the police headquarters but nothing happened," he said.
Turkish police breaking up LGBT rally, 26 Jun 16Image copyrightAFP
Image caption

Turkish police broke up an LGBT rally in Istanbul in June
Another of Mr Sankari’s friends, Diya, said the United Nations was also failing to protect the gay community in Turkey.

"I get threats over the phone... It does not matter if you are Syrian or Turkish, if you are gay you are everyone's target. They want sex from you and when you don't they just tag along... Who is next?" Diya said.

In June, Turkish police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse gay activists who tried to hold an LGBT rally in Istanbul, despite a ban on the Gay Pride parade.
Homosexuality is illegal in many countries in the Middle East and although it is not against the law in Turkey, analysts say homophobia remains widespread.

Hate crimes
Cagil Kasapoglu of the BBC Turkish Service says hate crimes against LGBT individuals in Turkey mostly go unreported.
According to kaosgl, there has been a rise in human rights violations based on sexual orientation in recent years.
Under the heading “hate crimes" the organization recorded five murders, 32 attacks and three suicides in Turkey last year.

It believes the number of such murders over the past six years is more than 50.
Syrian gay refugees in Turkey suffer even more, as their legal status is precarious - they are usually undocumented and most are reluctant to report assaults to police, our reporter says.

The Turkish authorities cited "safeguarding security and public order" as the reason for banning Gay Pride in Istanbul this year. The parade was also banned last year.

Assaults on LGBT people in Turkey have mostly been blamed on ultra-conservative Muslims and an ultra-nationalist youth group, the Alperen Hearths.
The harassment is also related to a rise in homophobic rhetoric in conservative media and social media, Cagil Kasapoglu says.

Such rhetoric was used by Turkish ultra-conservative media when reporting the murder of 49 people in June by a gunman in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, she says.
Gunman Omar Mateen, a US citizen, appeared to have an interest in Islamist extremism.

BBC

November 18, 2014

Islamic State Murder of Kassig- Parents Pay tribute to their Beheaded Son




Islamic State Kassig murder: Parents pay tribute to son

The parents of a US medic beheaded by Islamic State (IS) militants have paid tribute to their son, saying they will learn in time to forgive his captors.
"Our hearts are battered, but they will mend. The world is broken, but it will be healed," said Ed and Paula Kassig, parents of Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
Mr Kassig, 26, is the fifth Western hostage to be killed by IS.
Western intelligence officials are working to identify militants seen in a video showing his beheading.
A French prosecutor said one militant was Maxime Hauchard, 22, and another Frenchman might have been present. A third militant was reported to be a Briton.
"Our beloved son... no longer walks this earth," Ed Kassig told reporters on Monday. "Our hearts, though heavy, are held up by the love and support that has poured into our lives these last few days."
The couple asked for prayers for their son on Monday, as well as for those held against their will in Iraq, Syria and around the world.
Peter Kassig fishing with his father, Ed Kassig, near the Cannelton Dam on the Ohio River in Indiana - 2011
The Kassig familyAn undated family photo from Kassig's youth
Kassig with his father, fishing on the Ohio River in Indiana in 2011
"Lastly, please allow our family the time and privacy to mourn, cry, and yes, forgive, and begin to heal," Mr Kassig added.
The IS video released on Sunday shows a masked man standing over a severed head, which the White House later confirmed was Kassig's.
He was captured by IS, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, in October 2013 while travelling to Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria.
line
Analysis: Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent
The 16-minute video posted online by IS, while graphically sadistic, also reveals a wealth of detail about the perpetrators and their whereabouts. This is deliberate. IS is effectively taunting the Western-led coalition that is arranged against it, saying this is who we are, come and get us if you dare.
Intelligence agencies will be using facial recognition software to identify those involved in the mass beheading, matching their real names and origins to their adopted battle names. IS has even put a place name on the video, Dabiq in northern Syria - a place where according to Islamic hadith, an apocalyptic battle will be fought between Muslims and non-Muslims.
The one person who keeps his identity concealed is the suspected British jihadist known in the UK media as "Jihadi John". He is believed to be from London and both the FBI and MI5 almost certainly know who he is but for reasons known to them, they are not revealing it.
BBC

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