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Taliban shot gay Afghan man dead and sent graphic footage of the murder to his loved ones, boyfriend says

Joshua Zitser   

Taliban shot gay Afghan man dead and sent graphic footage of the murder to his loved ones, boyfriend says
  • A gay 22-year-old Afghan man was kidnapped and killed by the Taliban, Pink News reported.
  • Insider reviewed footage of a man being shot in the head and neck several times.

A gay Afghan man was kidnapped and shot to death by the Taliban, according to activists who knew him, Pink News was the first to report.

Hamed Sabouri of Kabul, Afghanistan, died on August 5, activists said. The news of the 22-year-old's death only became public this week after his former boyfriend informed the media.

Graphic video footage of a murder, which Insider has viewed, appears to show a man resembling Sabouri being shot in the neck and head at least 12 times.

Days later, the Taliban sent the disturbing execution video to Sabouri's relatives and friends, who, in turn, forwarded it to the Afghan LGBTQ+ group Roshaniya.

In a statement to Insider, Nemat Sadat, Roshaniya's executive director, said: "Hamed Sabouri was a gay man with big dreams that have now been shattered."

Sadat said Sabouri, who had wanted to be a doctor, had "endured discrimination his whole life for being gay and his life came to an abrupt end with no one there to help him."

The footage, Sadat said, shows "the Taliban's merciless brutality against LGBT+ people in Afghanistan."

Bahar (his nickname, used to protect his identity), a gay Afghan man in a relationship with Sabouri, was one of the recipients of the video. "I think the Taliban wanted to send a dangerous message to his family," he told Insider.

Bahar described his former boyfriend as a "very kind boy" who was "brutally killed" because of his sexuality.

Bahar said he thought Sabouri was joking when he told him in July that the Taliban was targeting him and was "in danger" for being gay. However, Sabouri was abducted at the start of August, and his body was discovered five days later, Bahar said.

Since Sabouri's death, Bahar said he had been arrested by the Taliban twice. He said he was sexually assaulted in prison and managed to escape on two separate occasions by bribing prison officers and hiding in a garbage truck.

The Taliban searched Bahar's family home on Friday, he said, and informed his mother that they were looking to arrest him again. "If I am arrested this time, I will be executed or stoned," Bahar said. "My life is not safe."

Bahar, who is in hiding, is the media outreach officer of Behesht — a collective for LGBTQ Afghans.

In a statement provided to Insider, Behesht said: "The Taliban didn't only kill Hamed Sabouri. They buried the aspirations of 1,250 Afghan LGBTQ+ who are part of Behesht Collective and the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ outside of our network who remain stuck in Afghanistan."

The statement continued: "If the world doesn't help us, then we will all be gone like Hamed. Please help us get out of this hellhole."

When the Taliban took over, Insider spoke to several gay men in Afghanistan who described how they were living in fear. One Afghan activist predicted gay people in Afghanistan would be "weeded out and exterminated."

In a January 2022 report by Human Rights Watch and OutRight Action International, LGBTQ Afghans described fleeing their homes, being attacked by family members, and being gang-raped by Taliban members.

October 20, 2022: The main images in this article were replaced pending a review of the photos originally used..

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