BAGHDAD, April 16, 2007 (IRIN) –
The Iraqi lesbian and gay community and NGOs dealing with gay issues have
called for urgent action to protect gays and lesbians in the country.
The groups say that the number of
victims of “sexual cleansing” is growing on a daily basis.
“In the past three months, more
than 30 gays have been executed in Baghdad. The bodies have been found
tortured, mutilated – sometimes with signs of rape,” said Mustafa Salim,
spokesman for the Rainbow for Life Organisation (RLO), a Baghdad-based gay
“Notes were found near some of the
bodies with messages saying that this is going to be the fate for any Muslim
who denies the Islamic religion,” Salim added.
RLO was set up in 2005, and Salim
claims that since then they have recorded more than 230 cases of abuses
against gays and lesbians, including more than 64 deaths – with the last
three months being the most bloody.
“The gay community continues to be
subjected to systematic terror by Shia militias, especially the Mahdy Army
controlled by the religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr. The government of Iraq
is refusing to offer protection,” he added.
In an interview, one member of the
Mahdy Army, Ali Hassany, said that the militia will target Iraq’s gays and
“They deserve death. Those people
are an embarrassment to our society. Killing such people is a job for their
families, but if they cannot do so by their own hands, we will do it,”
For security reasons, RLO has been
keeping a very low profile. The whereabouts of its offices are unknown and
it maintains clandestine contacts with victims and volunteers.
“Four of our volunteers have been
killed since 2005 and many threats have been received, but we will not stop
trying to help those people. They don’t have anyone to help them and even
the government considers them victims of common violence rather than victims
of special targeting,” Salim added.
The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior
denies that the gay community is being singled out for violent attacks, and
claims that the problem is general and related to sectarian violence.
“All Iraqis might be victims of
violence. We cannot afford protection to a special group because the
situation is delicate for all Iraqis and we cannot confirm that they have
been targeted for being gays or lesbians,” said Lt. Col. Hussein Jaboury
from the ministry.
The United Nations Assistance
Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) says that it agrees that gays and lesbians are being
targeted by the militias.
“Armed Islamic groups and militias
have been known to be particularly hostile towards homosexuals, frequently
and openly engaging in violent campaigns against them,” a report released in
January by UNAMI said.
“There have been a number of
assassinations of homosexuals in Iraq. We were also alerted to the existence
of religious courts, supervised by religious scholars, where homosexuals
allegedly would be ‘tried’, ‘sentenced’ to death and then executed,” the
Iraq - More Gays Executed. Iraqi lesbians and gays continue to be
subjected a systematic reign of terror by Shia death squads, Ali Hili, the
coordinator of the human rights group Iraqi LGBT, said in London this
morning. (UK Gay News, April 4, 2007)
Ovation for Gay Iraqi at London ‘Faith’
The leader of the gay rights group Iraqi LGBT, Ali Hili,
received a standing ovation from 250 delegates when he addressed the “Faith,
Homophobia and Human Rights” conference in London on Saturday.
(UK Gay News, February 19, 2007)
Five Gay Activists Kidnapped In al-Shaab
District of Baghdad. Five gay activists were
abducted at gun-point by Iraqi police in Baghdad on November 9 – and nothing
has been heard of them since then. It is feared they may have been murdered
by death squads – the armed wings of parties in the Bush and Blair-backed
Iraqi government –operating under the cover of the Iraqi police.
(UK Gay News, December 6, 2006)
Ahmed’s Story – A Cruel, Barbaric Death.
Ali Hili. Ahmed Khalil was a likeable, playful 14 year old boy, born in the
southern Iraqi town of al-Ammara. The eldest child, he came from an
uneducated family who lived in great poverty. (UK Gay News, May 4, 2006)
Iraqi Police Execute “Gay” Child in Baghdad.
Gay human rights group Outrage! has today accused Iraqi
police of executing a 14 year old boy in the al-Dura district of Baghdad in
early April. (UK Gay News, May 4, 2006)
Iraqi Gays Face Abuse and Murder. As Iraq
wrestles with its planned constitution, the country’s gays and lesbians face
blackmail, rape and murder, a LGBT human rights group charged today.
Gay News, August 8, 2005)
Focus on Teens Trapped In Commercial Gay Sex Trade in
Hassan Feiraz, a 16-year-old boy, has started a desperate new
life since being forced into the sex trade in Baghdad, joining a growing
number of adolescents soliciting in Iraq under the threat of street gangs or
the force of poverty. “Every day I cry at night,” Feiraz said. “I’m a
homosexual and was forced to work as a prostitute because one of the people
I had sex with took pictures of me in bed and said that, if I didn't work
for him, he was going to send the pictures to my family.”
Gay News, August 8, 2005)
Posted: 16 April 2007 at
17:30 (UK time)