Gay Syrian refugee found beheaded in Istanbul amid concerns Turkey does not protect EU asylum seekers

On Aug 4, 2016 The Telegraph reported: A gay Syrian refugee found beheaded in Istanbul had previously been kidnapped and raped, his friends said.

Muhammed Wisam Sankari, known to his friends as Wisam, vanished after leaving his house in the district of Aksaray on July 23. He was found dead two days later, a mile away from his home.

His flatmate Gorkem, who went to identify his body, told the Turkish LGBT magazine KaosGL: “They had cut Wisam violently – so violently that two knives had broken inside him.

“They had beheaded him. His upper body was beyond recognition, his internal organs were out. We could identify our friend from his pants.”

People walk by the Dolmabahce Palace bearing a Turkish flag on the gate in Istanbul
Gorkem and his other two flatmates Rayan and Diya also told KaosGL no suspects have been arrested, nor did the police act when Mr Sankari was allegedly attacked earlier this year.

“About five months ago, a group kidnapped Wisam in Fatih (Istanbul’s historic centre). They took him to a forest, beat him and raped him. They were going to kill him but Wisam saved himself by jumping on the road.

Rayan said: “We complained to the police headquarters but nothing happened.”

Although Istanbul has become a safe haven for LGBT refugees fleeing violence and discrimination in the region, Mr Sankari’s kidnapping is not an isolated incident and many gay refugees still face threats and assault.

Diya, Mr Sankari’s third flatmate, said she was kidnapped twice. “I barely got home one time. I went to the UN for my identification but they did not even respond to that. No one cares about us,” she said.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) considers LGBT refugees as particularly vulnerable and prioritises their cases for resettlement to third countries, but the process is slow, taking an average of two years, according to UNHCR’s Turkey office.

Read more at Gay Syrian refugee found beheaded in Istanbul amid concerns Turkey does not protect EU asylum seekers

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