December 8, 2022

Westside People

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Palestinian gay man beheaded in West Bank

A Palestinian gay man has been beheaded in the occupied West Bank because of his sexual orientation, an Israeli LGBT+ rights group said Friday, contesting Palestinian police intent on the crime.

Palestinian police said 25-year-old Ahmed Abu Murqiyeh was found with a severed head on Wednesday in Hebron, in the southern West Bank.

In a statement, the young man’s relatives said he was killed “while visiting his family in Hebron,” without giving further details about the circumstances of his death.

According to Rita Petrenko, director of the Israeli association Al-Bayt Al-Mokdaleb, Ahmad Abu Murqiyeh contacted the organization in April 2021 after fleeing the West Bank, where he feared persecution.

“He has not contacted his family” and was preparing an asylum application for Canada, he told AFP.

Hours before his death, he was in Tel Aviv and had no intention of going to Hebron, Ms. Petrenko said, wondering how he would have ended up in the city.

“I think he was killed because of his sexual orientation,” he added.

Palestinian police said in a statement on Thursday that he had been killed, without giving a motive. However, he denies the victim’s homosexuality, while several Palestinian security sources told AFP the killing was related to drug trafficking.

A member of his family was arrested, according to these sources, who requested anonymity.

Rami Fahel, director of Alwan, an Arab Israeli association for the defense of the LGBT+ community, told AFP that he had met Abu Murkiyev on several occasions, at least once in Tel Aviv.

His family says he used to live in Jordan.

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Homosexuality is often a taboo subject in Palestinian society. According to human rights NGOs, Israel has granted residence permits to some members of the LGBT+ community who fear persecution in the Palestinian territories.

Contacted by AFP, Cogat did not say whether the Israeli body responsible for civil operations in the Palestinian territories had granted Ahmed Abo Murqieh a residence permit.