Human rights groups estimate that as many as 58 Iraqis who are either gay or perceived to be gay have been killed in the last six weeks alone, the AP reported.

The young men appear to be targeted by Shi'ite militants who oppose Western-style “emo” clothes and haircuts. The “emo” look often includes tight-fitting jeans, t-shirts with logos and longer or spiky hairstyles. However, Emos are not necessarily gay.

Last month, Iraq's interior ministry labeled the subculture “Satanism.”

The bodies of at least 14 people bearing the signs of having been stoned to death have been brought to 3 hospital in Baghdad, Reuters reported.

“Last week I signed the death certificates of three of those young people, and the reason for death I wrote in my own hand was severe skull fractures,” an unnamed doctor is reported as saying. “A very powerful blow to the head caused these fractures which totally smashed the skull of the victim.”

A list of potential targets distributed by militants in Baghdad's conservative Shi'ite Sadr City neighborhood includes the following warning: “We warn in the strongest terms to every male and female debauchee. If you do not stop this dirty act within four days, then the punishment of God will fall on you at the hands of Mujahideen.”

Similar warnings have been left in other neighborhoods.

The U.S. State Department has expressed concerned over the spate of killings.

“We strongly condemn the recent violence and killings in Iraq by groups who appear to be targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or personal expression,” the department said.