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Gay Afghan medical student brutally murdered by Taliban

Footage of 22-year-old Hamed Sabouri's killing was sent to his family and partner.

By Emily Maskell

Taliban in Kandahar city, Southern Afghanistan, 2 September 2021.
Taliban in Kandahar city, Southern Afghanistan, 2 September 2021. (Image: Majority World CIC / Alamy Stock Photo)

The death of gay medical student Hamed Sabouri is the latest murder in the Taliban’s mounting violence against Afghanistan’s LGBTQ+ community.

22-year-old Sabouri was stopped by Taliban gunmen at a traffic checkpoint in August, abducted, tortured for three days, and then shot.

Sabouri’s family and partner say footage of his execution was sent to them.

“The Taliban murdered Hamed and sent the video to his family and me,” said Bahar, Sabouri’s partner, the Guardian reports. 

“Hamed’s family have fled and I have been in hiding. We were like any other couple around the world in love but the Taliban treat us like criminals,” Bahar continued. “They’ve killed the love of my life and I don’t know how I’ll live without him.”

Bahar claims to have been receiving threats from the Taliban and is now on the run.

“I was arrested by the Taliban in August 2021 and again in May and June this year and was raped, beaten and tortured with electric shocks,” Bahar adds, noting that many of their friends from the LGBTQ+ community have faced similarly horrific experiences.

Sabouri’s family is one of a growing number of families who have witnessed the mounting and brutal violence aimed at the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan.

“Life is hell for every LGBT Afghan,” Bahar told Pink News. “Taliban terrorists are worse than wild animals.”

“The biggest fear that every LGBTQ+ person in Afghanistan has right now is that they will become the next Hamed Sabouri,” said Nemat Sadat, founder of LGBTQ+ rights group Roshaniya.

“This has been their predicament ever since the Taliban returned to power,” Sadat adds, referencing the Taliban’s seized power following the departure of US forces from the country last year. 

Sadat emphasises that “we won’t let Hamed’s life go in vain.”

“During the twenty years of the democratic era, homosexuality was criminalized and LGBT+ people had no rights,” Roshaniya official statement on Sabouri’s death reads. “Today, LGBT+ Afghans can’t even breath safely as they face a hidden genocide under the Taliban.”

“If the world doesn’t intervene now to grant asylum protection then I’m afraid the entire LGBT+ community in Afghanistan will perish within a few years’ time. We cannot let this happen,” their statement concludes. 

Murders of LGBTQ+ Afghans have been increasing, Attitude spoke to a gay Afghan earlier this month who fled the country and made it safely to Canada following his boyfriend’s murder.

Ahmadullah (not his real name) was described as “the ‘most wanted’ on the Taliban’s LGBT+ kill list” by Afghan LGBTQ activist, Nemat Sadat, having evaded the Taliban four times.