A Palestinian gay man has been beheaded in the occupied West Bank because of his sexual orientation, an Israeli LGBT+ rights organization said on Friday, with Palestinian police contesting the motive for the crime.
According to Palestinian police, Ahmed Abu Murkhiyeh, 25, was found beheaded on Wednesday in Hebron, a city in the southern West Bank where he was originally from.
In a statement, relatives of the young man said he was killed “while visiting his family in Hebron”, without giving further details on the circumstances of his death.
According to Rita Petrenko, director of the Israeli association al-Bait al-Mokhtalef, Ahmed Abou Murkhiyeh had contacted this organization in April 2021 after having fled the West Bank where he feared being persecuted, and had since lived in associative shelters in Israel.
“He had not contacted” his family since and was preparing an asylum application for Canada, she told AFP.
A few hours before his death, he was in Tel Aviv and had no intention of going to Hebron, Ms. Petrenko said, wondering how he could have ended up in that city afterwards.
“I think he was killed because of his sexual orientation,” she added.
Palestinian police reported his murder in a statement Thursday, without giving a reason. However, she disputes the victim's homosexuality, while several Palestinian security sources told AFP that the murder was linked to drug trafficking.
A member of his family was arrested, d 'after these sources who requested anonymity.
Rami Fahel, director of the Arab Israeli association Alwan for the defense of the LGBT + community, told AFP that he had met Abou Murkhiyeh on several occasions, including at least once in Tel-Aviv.
His family claims that he lived in Jordan.
Homosexuality remains a largely taboo subject in Palestinian society. According to human rights NGOs, Israel granted residence permits to some people from the LGBT+ community fearing persecution in the Palestinian Territories.
Contacted by AFP, Cogat , the Israeli body in charge of civilian operations in the Palestinian Territories, did not say whether it had granted a residence permit to Ahmed Abu Murkhiyeh.