LONDON -- Up to 25 gay men will next month have to ‘take their chances’ in Iraq where religious militia regularly seek out gays and execute them. Two ‘safe houses’ for gays will be forced to close at the end month – due to lack of cash, it was learned last night.
And appeal for funds was made last month by the London-based IraqiLGBT group, which runs the five safe houses. The appeal was promoted on a number of LGBT online sires and blogs in several countries.
But just under £1,000 ($US2,000, €1,400) is all has been raised as a result of the appeal. The amount barely covers the cost of running one safe house for a month.
"I have come to a decision on closing down two safe houses because I can not keep promising people things we can not deliver," Ali Hili, who heads IraqiLGBT, told UK Gay News.
The cost of running one safe house for a month is about £900 ($1,800). This includes £400 for rent £200 for the salaries of two guards – an essential part of the security arrangements, and £300 per month for gas, fuel for electricity generators, food, clean drinking water, hygienic supplies etc.
Each house accommodates between 10 to 12 gay men in a relative secure environment.
Since the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq, gay people in Iraq have suffered particularly intense persecution.
Violence against all the gay community has intensified sharply since late 2005, when Iraq’s leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a fatwa (religious decree) which declared that gays and lesbians should be “killed in the worst, most severe way”.