According to the London based IRAQI-LGBT group, Iraqi authorities have convicted over 100 prisoners because they are LGBT, and are planning to execute them in batches of twenty. Independent confirmation on this has not yet been forthcoming, but campaigners are warning this may just be the tip of a horrific iceberg, what with the death penalty on the rise ever since the 2004 regime change and figures of actual executions being played down. How can you help? Sign the petition below.
One of those being detained and under threat of possible execution is an as yet unnamed member of the IRAQI-LGBT group. According to Ali Hili, a member of IRAQI-LGBT, this problem is in fact not a fresh one, but has gained rapid momentum in the past few months.
“We have information and reports on members of our community whom have been arrested are and waiting for execution for the crimes of homosexuality… IRAQI-LGBT has been a banned from running our activities on Iraqi soil… raids by the Iraqi police and ministry of interior forces… [killed] 17 members working for IRAQI-LGBT since 2005.”
He also detailed a steady increase in death sentences since August of 2004 and revealed that, according to his organization’s statistics, 2006 saw 65 people put to death, 2007 saw (approximately) 199 people given the death penalty and in 2008 at least 285 people were given the sentence whilst a further 34 were known to have actually been executed to date.
Mr Hili stated that Iraqi authorities have also refused to disclose the identities of those detained on crimes of homosexuality or convicted thereof, raising serious doubts as to whether those trials even met with international standards of a fair trial.
In fact, it is more than likely the case that they did not as the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, who ostensibly enforces the “moral” law, have demonstrated they have no regard for Iraqi civil or even basic human liberties, especially for those of the LGBT community.
Mr Hili is calling out to the UK Government and all other Governments that will listen to help prevent this “tragic miscarriage of justice” from going ahead. He asks that they do everything they and their allies are capable of doing in order to firstly halt the executions in Iraq and secondly expose the massive injustices done to LGBT people throughout Iraqi lands, which include home raids, torture, imprisonment without trial and many more. IRAQI-LGBT point out that, as bad as the situation is now, when U.S. and British forces fully withdraw, it will only deteriorate. The time to act must be now.
How Can You Help Iraqi LGBT People Facing the Death Penalty?
IRAQI-LGBT desperately need you to raise your voices and, if you can afford to, to open your wallet. They need money to be able to help their people in Iraq aid LGBT citizens by getting them to safe houses, paying for food and medical supplies as well as finding them refuge in neighboring countries.
However, IRAQI-LGBT want you to be informed about what you might be giving to. The IRAQI-LGBT blog is here, where you can learn about the organizations history and its struggle to help the LGBT citizens of Iraq. If you are on Facebook, get regular updates on this issue by joining the IRAQI-LGBT group and to learn how you can add your voice to the chorus pleading to help LGBT Iraqis under the threat of the death penalty today.