LGBT Palestinian Beheaded After Escaping West Bank

Twenty-five-year-old Ahmad Hacham Hamdi Abu Marakhia left for work on October 5 and never returned home. Instead, his beheaded and dismembered body was seen in horrific videos circulating in Palestinian territories and Jordan.

Ahmad, an LGBT man from the West Bank, moved into an Israeli safehouse in the Greater Tel Aviv area after being outed as gay. The safe house caters to the Palestinian and Arab Israeli gay community. He was in the process of trying to get asylum in a third country.

Ahmad had been living in Al-Bait Al-Mokhtalif (The Different House). The Different House’s CEO, Rita Petrenko, who secured his permit to live in Israel, said he was part of an LGBT pride group and that many people knew him. She said Ahmad was an industrious, intelligent man who was looking forward to leaving the country. “He was next in line,” she said.

The gruesome videos show that he was kidnapped and killed in Hebron. Friends say that they are sure he was murdered because of his sexuality.

The LGBT community is persecuted in the Palestinian areas, as they are in many countries, including Iraq, where they are thrown from buildings, and Iran, where they are hanged from cranes. In 2019, the Palestinian police issued a statement asking citizens to report on LGBT activities, which had been banned in the West Bank. A spokesman told the Jerusalem Post that such activities are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society.”

According to Equaldex, an organization collecting information on LGBT rights worldwide, Palestine provides no protection against discrimination in housing and employment to the LGBT community. The country ranks just sixteen out of one hundred.

Israeli Arab politician Ibtisam Mara’ana, who has been promoting the construction of shelters for Arab LGBT youth, mourned the death of Marakhia in a tweet, saying, “Ahmad, who stayed in an Israeli shelter due to his sexuality, was murdered by a vicious and twisted killer. In the next government, we intend to complete the Palestinian LGBT revolution.”

Palestinian Authority Police say that they have opened an investigation and announced that a suspect had been arrested on the morning of October 6.

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