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Iraqi LGBT is being blocked from advocating for the group by the UK government — find out how you can help.

Monday, November 16, 2009

720 brutally murdered as 'gay cleansing' continues unchecked in Iraq

An organization dedicated to securing asylum for LGBT refugees from Iraq estimates that over 720 LGBT men and women have been murdered by extremist militias in the last six years.
London-based Iraqi LGBT reports the Iraqi government has largely been absent in pursuing the roaming "death squads" in Iraq who seek out LGBT victims, likely due to the influence of extremist Shia religious parties that are calling for a moral cleansing of Iraq.

The organization says the rise of fundamentalist groups in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion has proven deadly to LGBT Iraqis, who are now being forced to either hide or face the consequences. On its website, Iraqi LGBT says, "there is little hope for Iraqis suffering under the new socio-political climate. Once the most liberal and secular of the Arab nations, nowadays religious extremism has taken hold of the country to the detriment of its people."

The extremist groups and police were using the Internet to track down LGBT Iraqis this past summer, but at least two gay Iraqis were able to be saved by Iraqi LGBT. In August, police raided the houses of Asad Galib and Faeq Ismail, both 24 years old, and took them into custody. They were held and questioned for about four hours and accused of viewing gay websites in an internet café. Both men denied the accusations and explained that the websites had already been open when they began using the computers. They were later released and put in a safe house sponsored by Iraqi LGBT.

But the big question continues to be, why hasn't the U.S. government done anything to help? It is hearbreaking that Iraqi LGBT has to beg for donations on its website, instead of getting any form of help whatsoever from us to help stop the gay genocide in Iraq.

President Obama has remained completely silent on the issue, even after receiving a letter from Rep. Jared Polis urging his administration to take action, and a 67-page report by Human Rights Watch in August outlining in explicit detail the torture and murder of LGBT Iraqis, which was featured prominently in nearly every U.S. media outlet, including the New York Times and CNN. Since the HRW report was released, there hasn't been a single change in military strategy to protect LGBT Iraqis from the roaming death squads or the Iraqi police.

Better question - why haven't American LGBT people and their supporters expressed more outrage about the horrendous situation facing LGBT Iraqis? Are we so caught up in our own myopic obsession with equal rights here that we forget about the plight of our brothers and sisters in the (still) U.S.-occupied territory? Why aren't we doing more to try and help them? Why aren't we doing more to speak out on their behalf?

Iraqi LGBT is doing all it can, but being the only organization dedicated to helping gay Iraqis, it's difficult for them to make much of an impact. So far, Iraqi LGBT says nearly 100 individuals in Iraq have directly benefited from their work, and they have been involved in securing asylum for Iraqi refugees who have been forced to flee the country.

But so much more is needed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


IRAQI LGBT – November 2009 – The rise of fundamentalist groups in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. led invasion has proven deadly to LGBT Iraqis, who are now being forced to either hide or face the consequences.

Using the internet as a means to track down new victims, militia members are now employing computer analysts to monitor traffic on gay dating and networking websites in the region. They work with internet café owners to single out people who frequent these sites and set up fake profiles in the attempt to lure them out.

On the 28th of August, police raided the houses of Asad Galib and Faeq Ismail, both 24 years old, and took them into custody. They were held and questioned for about four hours, accused of viewing gay websites in an internet café on the 21st of July. Both men denied the accusations and explained that the websites had already been open when they had begun using the computers. They were later released and are now in contact with Iraqi LGBT, a London based organization working to support and protect LGBT individuals in Iraq.

Others who have been accused or are suspected of such activities have not been as lucky.

On the 2nd of September, the body of 21-year-old student Mizher Hussien was discovered in Al Najaf, a city south of Baghdad. His head and genitals had been severed, and he had the word “pervert” written in black across his chest. The details of his murder are unknown, and Iraqi police have refused to launch an investigation into the cause or motivation of the crime.

On the 18th of September in Al Shatra Amara, two bodies were found exhibiting signs of torture. They had both been decapitated and left with a paper stating, “This is the end of all pervert homosexuals”.

Iraqi LGBT has been working since 2003 to raise awareness of the abuses being committed against LGBT people in Iraq, as well as provide protection to those who have been targeted. The organization currently funds a number of safe houses in the region, with nearly 100 individuals in Iraq directly benefitting from their work. In addition, Iraqi LGBT has been involved in securing asylum for Iraqi refugees who have been forced to flee the country.

Unfortunately, Iraqi LGBT has not been able to help everyone. The organization estimates that over 720 LGBT men and women have been murdered by these extremist militias in the last six years. The Iraqi government has largely been absent in pursuing the roaming death squads who carry out these acts, likely due to the influence of extremist Shia religious parties that are calling for a moral cleansing of Iraq.

With extremist militias threatening all those known to support LGBT rights, including the 2006 raid of an Iraqi LGBT planning meeting in which five activists were arrested, there is little hope for Iraqis suffering under the new socio-political climate. Once the most liberal and secular of the Arab nations, nowadays a religious extremism has taken hold of the country to the detriment of its people.
Iraqi LGBT calls for immediate international action to prevent the further torture and execution of LGBT people in Iraq. More information and details on making donations to the safe houses effort can be found at our Iraqi LGBT blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Observer - How Islamist gangs use internet to track, torture and kill Iraqi gays

Iraqi militias infiltrate internet gay chatrooms to hunt their quarry – and hundreds are feared to be victims.


Sitting on the floor, wearing traditional Islamic clothes and holding an old notebook, Abu Hamizi, 22, spends at least six hours a day searching internet chatrooms linked to gay websites. He is not looking for new friends, but for victims.

"It is the easiest way to find those people who are destroying Islam and who want to dirty the reputation we took centuries to build up," he said. When he finds them, Hamizi arranges for them to be attacked and sometimes killed.

Hamizi, a computer science graduate, is at the cutting edge of a new wave of violence against gay men in Iraq. Made up of hardline extremists, Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone.
The deputy leader of the group, which is based in Baghdad, explained its campaign using a stream of homophobic invective. "Animals deserve more pity than the dirty people who practise such sexual depraved acts," he told the Observer. "We make sure they know why they are being held and give them the chance to ask God's forgiveness before they are killed."
The violence against Iraqi gays is a key test of the government's ability to protect vulnerable minority groups after the Americans have gone.

Dr Toby Dodge, of London University's Queen Mary College, believes that the violence may be a consequence of the success of the government of Nouri al-Maliki. "Militia groups whose raison d'être was security in their communities are seeing that function now fulfilled by the police. So their focus has shifted to the moral and cultural sphere, reverting to classic Islamist tactics of policing moral boundaries," Dodge said.

Homosexuality was not criminalised under Saddam Hussein – indeed Iraq in the 1960s and 1970s was known for its relatively liberated gay scene. Violence against gays started in the aftermath of the invasion in 2003. Since 2004, according to Ali Hali, chairman of the Iraqi LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) group, a London-based human-rights group, a total of 680 have died in Iraq, with at least 70 of those in the past five months. The group believes the figures may be higher, as most cases involving married men are not reported. Seven victims were women. According to Hali, Iraq has become "the worst place for homosexuals on Earth".
The killings are brutal, with victims ritually tortured. Azhar al-Saeed's son was one. "He didn't follow what Islamic doctrine tells but he was a good son," she said. "Three days after his kidnapping, I found a note on my door with blood spread over it and a message saying it was my son's purified blood and telling me where to find his body."

She went with police to find her son's remains. "We found his body with signs of torture, his anus filled with glue and without his genitals," she said. "I will carry this image with me until my dying day."

Police officers interviewed by the Observer said the killings were not aimed at gays but were isolated remnants of the sectarian violence that racked the country between 2005 and 2006. Hamizi's group, however, boasts that two people a day are chosen to be "investigated" in Baghdad. The group claims that local tribes are involved in homophobic attacks, choosing members to hunt down the victims. In some areas, a list of names is posted at restaurants and food shops.

The roommate of Haydar, 26, was kidnapped and killed three months ago in Baghdad. After Haydar contacted the last person his friend had been chatting with on the net, he found a letter on his front door alerting him "about the dangers of behaving against Islamic rules". Haydar plans to flee to Amman, the Jordanian capital. "I have… to run away before I suffer the same fate," he said.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Shia militia known as the Mahdi army may be among the militants implicated in the violence, particularly in the northern part of Baghdad known as Sadr City. There are reports that Mahdi army militias are harassing young men simply for wearing "western fashions".

A Ministry of Interior spokesperson, Abdul-Karim Khalaf, denied allegations of police collaboration. "The Iraqi police exists to protect all Iraqis, whatever their sexual persuasion," he said.

Hashim, another victim of violence by extremists, was attacked on Abu Nawas Street. Famous for its restaurants and bars, the street has become a symbol of the relative progress made in Baghdad. But it was where Hashim was set on by four men, had a finger cut off and was badly beaten. His assailants left a note warning that he had one month to marry and have "a traditional life" or die.

"Since that day I have not left my home. I'm too scared and don't have money to run away," Hashim said.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Iraqi LGBT welcome Human Rights Watch report on pogrom, urges practical aid


For immediate use

Iraqi LGBT welcome Human Rights Watch report on pogrom, urges practical aid

The Iraqi LGBT group today welcomed the release by Human Rights Watch of its report 'They want us exterminated' which documents the killing of LGBT people in Iraq, in particular the extensive media coverage it has generated. Much of the information in the report is sourced from Iraqi LGBT members.

"This report underlines what we have been saying since our group's formation in 2006," said Iraqi LGBT spokesperson, Ali Hili. "We have information on over 700 killings including honour killings."

However Hili says that the group, which has 100 members inside Iraq (as well as refugees in neighboring countries) and supports LGBT people through safe houses, offers practical support (food etc.), psychological and educational support, is chronically underfunded.

"We are the only people offering support to our fellow Iraqi LGBT inside Iraq but because we do not have the funds we have had to turn people away," he said.

The group recently published its annual report, available on its website, which showed how the money it receives is spent.

The report explains how it has developed methods of operating clandestinely which are essential for such an operation in the Middle East. Hili is the only visible member of the group and as a result has attracted death threats in his exile in London. He is under police protection.

Recently it received a second substantial donation from a Dutch group. However due to low funding it has had to close safe houses and slow its development plans.

At the same time it has seen very large amounts of money raised in the United States go to a Lebanese group which is supposed to be supporting Iraqi LGBT refugees. Ali says that the refugees, delivered to Lebanon by Human Rights Watch, have in fact been abandoned and some have returned to Iraq because they had no practical support.

"We have been trying to support one refugee who returned to Iraq from Lebanon because his medical needs were not being supported and who is now in danger. Through the United Nations, he has actually been accepted as a refugee by Sweden however it costs $2000 just for him to get back to Lebanon and then there are his travel costs to Sweden on top of that plus organising support in Sweden."

"This is an example of a case where we have great difficulty helping. It also shows something of the real costs involved in actually supporting people. Another example of that would be the bribes we have had to pay to save peoples lives."

"Our group represents Iraqi LGBT - they are our members - and, despite immense difficulties, our group has gained a lot of experience since we were established. Please support us if you want to help save LGBT people in Iraq."

Donations to Iraqi LGBT can be made to the PayPal Account iraqilgbt@yahoo.co.uk .

Or make cheques payable to (IRAQI LGBT) and send them to:

Iraqi LGBT
22 Notting Hill Gate
Unit 111London,
W11 3JE
United Kingdom

For further information please call ++44 (0) 79-819 59453 or email iraqilgbt@googlemail.com or see http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com

Ali said that the group also welcomed those who could donate their skills.



The Safe Houses Project

IRAQ: Emergency Shelter, Human Services and Protection for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People:

IRAQI LGBT started to establish a network of safe houses inside Iraq in March 2006.

As of today, we have only two safe houses open and running funded by HIVOS a Dutch based human rights organization.

The members of our group inside Iraq urgently need funds to open at least four safe houses. These funds will allow us to keep the four safe houses open and running, and provide safety, shelter, food and many other needs for our LGBT friends inside Iraq. Any funds we receive that go beyond what we need for these four safe houses could be used to open more safe houses in the near future. We desperately need to add more because we have so many urgent cases in other cities. We receive requests for shelter every day, but we are not able to help yet.

Every safe house has around 200 square meters of living space, but harbors 10 to 12 people, so is very overcrowded. The residents are struggling badly because of the shortages of almost all the basic necessities in Iraq.

Rent: We have paid three months rent in advance. The most recent payments were in August. The average rent per safe house per month is $ 600 US Dollar.

Security: We paid the salaries of two guards per house, at $ 200 US Dollar per guard per month.

Other expenses of each house: We have paid $ 600 a month for each house approximately for natural gas and kerosene for cooking, and for food, fuel for generators which provide the electricity supply.

Urgent priority needs: Our priorities at this stage are: natural gas or kerosene for cooking and heating; fuel for generating electricity; food; mobile phones and calling cards; money for transportation to allow residents some freedom of movement; beds, mattresses, blankets, sheets and pillows; cameras; printers; two computers; house supplies, such as cooking pans, dishes, and flatware; some furniture; clean water for drinking and bathing; soap for washing and bathing, tooth paste, razors and of course housing, guards etc.

Amount needed and how it would be spent (per month):
  • Natural gas or kerosene for cooking and heating - 50 GBP
  • Fuel for generating electricity – $ 300
  • Food - $ 600
  • Mobile phones, calling cards, and internet café charges - $ 450 etc.
  • Transportation – $ 250
  • Beds, mattresses, blankets, sheets and pillows – $ 1,300 – onetime payment
  • Cameras – $ 100 – onetime payment
  • Printers – $ 100 - onetime payment
  • Two computers – $ 1,200 - onetime payment
  • Kitchen supplies, such as cooking pans, dishes, and flatware – $ 400 – onetime payment
  • Some furniture – $ 500– onetime payment
  • Clean water for drinking and bathing; $ 250
  • Toiletries (soap for washing and bathing, tooth paste, razors etc.) – $ 150
We also need to pay for medicines for the members of our group, doctors will come and have a home visit monthly for all members their cost is $ 400 US Dollar each month.

Ali Hili - Iraqi Lgbt - Chair
22 Notting Hill Gate
Unit # 111
London , W11 3JE
United Kingdom
Mob: ++44 798 1959 453
Website : http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

Iraqi LGBT Annual Report and Accounts

Iraqi LGBT Annual Accounts

Iraqi LGBT Annual Report

Coverage of HRW report


Democracy Now!


Unsafe Haven Final

Sunday, August 16, 2009

London Group Spent £60,000 Last Year to Aid Gay and Transgender Iraqis

£24,000 donated by public, Iraqi LGBT accounts to 31 May shows

Iraqi LGBT, the London-based group that support gay, lesbian and transgender Iraqis, received just over £60,000 in donations in the year to May 2009, the accounts published this morning show.

And in the same period, all but £15 was sent to the Middle East to provide ‘safe houses’ in Iraq and Syria. Currently, the group runs two ‘safe houses’ in Syria and one in Iraq.

Of the donations received, £35,550 came a grants from two organisations, the Heartland Alliance (HA) in Chicago (£11,236) and Hivos (£24,313), a human rights group in the Netherlands that is mainly financed by the Dutch government.

The remaining £24,773 in donations came from individuals.

The costs incurred in the UK of running group was 9 per cent of the total expenditure (almost £5,450, which included £1,340 for special accounting for Hivos).

Largest expenditure was almost £1,400 which was spent on costs of the group’s weekly meetings during the financial year. In a bid to save cash, this has now been reduced to a meeting every two weeks, with a current proposal for the 19-strong group to meet monthly, the report says.

The report highlights the considerable difficulties in transferring cash to Iraq and Syria from the Iraqi LGBT bank account in London.

“We have realised that we sometimes need to trust our local people at face value and when we transfer funds to them, we have to believe that they will distribute these funds to the refugees who rely on this,” the report says.

“We have subsequently found out through making certain checks that our local administrator in Syria has not always passed on the funds. This is the same person who has been deported back to Iraq and for whom we put in a significant effort to keep him out the hands of the Iraqi Interior Ministry. As a result of this episode we have decided to pay each refugee in Syria individually to circumvent this problem. We have had no other problems, neither in Iraq , nor Turkey nor Jordan .”

While there was just £15 surplus at the end of the financial year, Iraqi LGBT is to get an increased contribution from Hivos – this year the Dutch organisation has allocated 50,000 Euros, the report says.

During the last financial year, the group realised that in order for their activities to survive, the organisational part has to remain secretive.

“Given the risks and dangers to which our local members are exposed, we must inform them on a need to know basis,” the report says . “We are aware that this has caused confusion but if these local activists know how our whole operation works then they could disclose this to the Iraqi authorities under interrogation.

“We have learned that there is a lot more to just providing shelter for refugees. There is not just the physical but also the psychological aspects which impact the refugees. It has been just as much a learning curve for us as it is for them.”

Iraqi LGBT is currently in the process of registering as a charity. A previous attempt to get charitable status failed, the report reveals.“When we have previously applied, we were told that our current constitution does not allow us to be registered as a charity as it contained clauses which have a political motive,” the report says.

The report also points out that they are working to register gay Iraqi refugees with The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

USA TODAY - Militias target some Iraqis for being gay

By Paul Wiseman and Nadeem Majeed, USA TODAY

BAGHDAD — The young man turns to the camera and pleads with his tormentors.
"I'm not a terrorist," he tells the Iraqi police who surround him. "I want you to know I am different. But I am not a terrorist."

To some fundamentalist Iraqi Muslims, Ahmed Sadoun Saleh was worse than a terrorist.
He was gay. He wore his hair long and took female hormones to grow breasts. Amused by his appearance, Iraqi police officers stopped him in December at a checkpoint in a southern Baghdad neighborhood dominated by radical Shiite militias. They groped Saleh and ridiculed him.

The assault was captured on video and circulated on cellphones throughout Baghdad, says Ali Hili, founder of London-based Iraqi LGBT, a group dedicated to protecting Iraq's gays and lesbians. Shortly after the video was made public, Hili says Saleh contacted him, fearing for his life, and asked for his help to flee Iraq.

"Unfortunately, it was too late," Hili says. Saleh turned up dead two months later, he says.
At least 82 gay men have been killed in Iraq since December, according to Iraqi LGBT. The violence has raised questions about the Iraqi government's ability to protect a diverse range of vulnerable minority groups that also includes Christians and Kurds, especially following the

withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities last month.

Mithal al-Alusi, a secular, liberal Sunni legislator, is among those who blame the killings on armed militant groups such as al-Qaeda and the Mahdi Army militia.

By targeting one of the most vulnerable groups in a conservative Muslim society — people whose sexual orientation is banned by Iraqi law — the militias essentially are serving notice that they remain powerful despite the U.S. and Iraqi militaries' efforts to curtail them, al-Alusi says.
The militants "want to educate the society to accept killers on the street," al-Alusi says in an interview. "Why did Hitler start with gays? They are weak. They have no political cover. They have no legal cover."

The attacks have terrified a gay community that, for a brief time after the U.S. troop surge in 2007-08, tentatively enjoyed greater freedom and security.

"I am worried about my life," says a middle-age gay man in Baghdad who asked to be identified by the pseudonym Hassan. He declined to be identified by his real name because the recent violence has made him fear for his life. "I don't know what to do," he says.

Hili and other gay rights activists believe the killers operate with the complicity and sometimes the direct involvement of Iraqi security forces.

As part of a drive to stop the sectarian violence that peaked in Iraq in 2006-07, those forces have taken into their ranks numerous former militia members from the Mahdi Army (loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr) and the pro-Iranian Badr Brigade.

"The Ministry of Interior in Iraq is behind this campaign of terror," Hili says in an e-mail.He says witnesses have told him that police harass and beat suspected gays at checkpoints and sometimes turn them over to militias for execution.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf disputes such allegations. He says the ministry has assigned a special bureau to investigate the killings of gays; he says he knows of six gays who had been executed as of May.

Homosexuality, Khalaf says, is against the law and "is rejected by the customs of our society." He adds, however, that offenders should be handled by the courts, not dispatched by vigilante groups.

The killers aren't just executing their gay victims. They are "mutilating their bodies and torturing them," says fundamentalist Sunni cleric Sheik Mohammed al-Ghreri, who has criticized the violence.

Hili says the militias have come up with a particularly cruel way to inflict pain: sealing victims' anuses with glue, then force-feeding them laxatives. Hili says he has spoken to several victims who survived the ordeal.

'You can just be crushed'

Besides targeting gays, Sadr City militias also are harassing and sometimes killing straight young men who violate fundamentalist fashion and decorum by wearing low-riding pants and other Western-style clothing, slicking back their hair or making it spiky, hanging out in cafes or pool halls or flirting with girls, says human rights activist Mohammed Jasim, 28.

"The campaign is against gays and anybody who looks gay" in the eyes of militiamen indoctrinated to believe immodest dress is an affront to God, Jasim says.

"Young people felt their city had been liberated," says Jasim's friend Wisam Mizban, 32.
"They thought they could wear what they wanted. The militias felt threatened and started killing them. They are doing their crimes under the cover of the government. … Most young people want a civilized life. The militias and the government are putting pressure on them again."

The campaign has had a chilling effect on Baghdad's nightlife.

Entrepreneur Ali al-Ali opened the Shisha coffee shop in an upstairs storefront overlooking a bustling street in the upscale Karrada neighborhood. The place quickly became a hangout for young gay men, who'd sit and talk and drink lattes, and smoke flavored tobacco from the water pipes that gave the cafe its name.

But as the militias started killing gay men, Ali discouraged gays from congregating at his cafe. "If (militias) see gays coming here, maybe they will target me outside Karrada," al-Ali says.
His sentiments were echoed by Hussam Abdullah, whose tea shop also used to be a hangout for gay men — until militias warned Abdullah there would be trouble if he didn't send them away. So he did.

The militias usually send out warnings before they attack. Posters go up in Sadr City listing the offenders — gay and flashy straight men — by name and neighborhood. "If you don't give up what you are doing," said a recent one seen by a USA TODAY reporter, "death will be your fate. And this warning will come true, and the punishment will be worse and worse."

The poster referred to the offenders as "puppies," the fundamentalist epithet for gays here. "In Arabic culture, if you want to insult someone you call them a dog," human rights activist Yanar Mohammed says. "If you're a small dog, you can just be crushed."

Among those listed was a young man named Allawi Hawar, a local soccer star who incurred the wrath of the militias by wearing his hair long and partying with his friends in Sadr City cafes.
Hawar was playing pool one day last month when two masked men drove up on a motor scooter. One climbed off and made his way inside the cafe, clutching a pistol.

"We have something to deal with," he announced to startled patrons, according to witness Emad Saad, 25.

The gunman grabbed Hawar and dragged him outside. Then he shot the young athlete in the leg. After Hawar crumpled to the ground, bleeding, the gunman shot him again and killed him, Saad says.

The militiamen pick their targets by entering cafes and looking for men who appear feminine or too showy, Saad says. Then they ask around to get the offenders' names, and later put them on the death lists distributed around town.

Saad himself likes to wear Western jeans and slicked-back hair. He has taken to carrying a Glock pistol, awaiting his showdown with the militias.

"Some people are afraid, but I am not," he says. "I have done nothing wrong."
The Sadr City warning posters do not appear to be the work of educated theologians. A recent one was filled with Arabic misspellings, including a faulty rendering of "compassionate" — part of one of the 99 names for God.

But Ali Hili, the London activist, and others believe high-level clerics have ordered the killings. Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani several years ago decreed that the punishment for homosexuality is death "if it is proven before the religious judge."

An Iraqi TV channel, Alsumaria, reported that Sunni cleric al-Ghreri has called for the execution of gays. Al-Ghreri denies issuing such a statement, but concedes that some "stubborn" clerics might support the death penalty for gays.

He says homosexuality is "abnormal" and that gays should know that "freedom has limits." First, he says, gays should be warned to change their offensive behavior.
If that fails, he says, they should be jailed. If detentions don't work, they should endure 100 lashes for engaging in gay sex. And if four separate lashings fail and if witnesses testify against the suspects, he says, then they should be executed.

Exactly what unleashed the recent wave of violence is unclear.

Some — including Hassan, the middle-age gay man — trace the terror to a birthday party around New Year's at a cafe on Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad.

The party attracted about 20 gay men who cut loose on the dance floor, celebrating what they thought was their freedom in a more peaceful, stable Iraq. A video of the revelry was entitled Gay Scandal and distributed around the city.

"This was the start of it," Hassan says. "It made the ministry people crazy."
In London, activist Hili calls the party "a foolish action from members of our community who let their guard down."

However, he doesn't believe the party "was the spark that ignited all the flames."
Hili says the violence started earlier, with clerical fatwas against gays and police raids in December in Najaf, Karbala and Kut.

The search for safety

Unable to trust the authorities — and in some cases shunned by their own families — many Iraqi gays have gone into hiding. Hassan and some gay friends say they had found refuge in a house in Karrada. But as the threat against them increased, they became afraid the police would find them. So they scattered.

Hassan says he sometimes stays at home with his brothers — their parents are dead — but he's afraid even of them, afraid they will kill him because he has brought shame to the family.
He says he wanted to move in with his sister, who lives in Abu Dhabi. She turned him away, saying she didn't want her children to know they have a gay uncle.
Unwilling to trust the police, Iraqi LGBT has set up its own safe houses for gays in Iraq. The group has struggled to raise money and had to close three safe houses in the past couple of months, leaving just one open.

Hili says five safe houses are needed, each of them housing 10 to 12 gay refugees. Rent for a 2,150-square-foot safe house is usually $600 a month. Yet other expenses pile up: security guards, food, fuel, medical bills, pots and pans, bedding.

"We desperately need to add more because we have so many urgent cases," Hili says. "We receive requests for shelter every day, but are not able to help."

Things were better for gays, Hassan says, under the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein.
"In the Saddam era, it wasn't like this," he says. Saddam's security forces, offended by Hassan's openly gay lifestyle, once arrested him and hauled him to court. The judge let him go, ruling that he had done nothing wrong.

"Now, you don't know who to be afraid of," he says. "Forget about freedom or democracy. We just want our safety."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gay Life After Saddam

Guardian review

What terrific reporting from Aasmah Mir in Gay Life After Saddam (BBC Radio 5 Live). It looked at the grim reality for gay, lesbian and transgender people living in Iraq, and the reasons for this savage new persecution. In a "liberated" country, this group finds itself yearning for the former regime. "We used to go every Thursday by the Tigris," said one man, his voice suffused with longing, "and we'd drink and swim. It was very relaxing."

Nobody in the programme sounded relaxed: Mir spoke to those in exile, in hiding, people who had been tortured or issued with death threats for helping others escape. Their stories ranged from sad to gruesome. We heard one Iraqi man tell how his boyfriend was abducted and murdered. "They had thrown his corpse in the garbage," he explained. "His genitals were cut off and a piece of his throat had been cut out." We heard, too, about the torture: rape, and also "glue in the anus and then force-feeding laxatives".

Some of those fleeing Iraq seek asylum in Britain and there were tales of seemingly harsh treatment by the authorities. Mir couldn't explore these, as both David Miliband and Phil Woolas refused interviews for this programme. Shame on them, you were left thinking.

Listen to the show (60')

Iraqi LGBT to apply for charitable status, provides interim accounts

Media release

For immediate use

Iraqi LGBT to apply for charitable status, provides interim accounts

10 July 2009

The Iraqi LGBT organisation has today provided interim accounts for its Syria operations (see below) and announced that it will resubmit an application for charitable status.

Based in the UK, the group works to aid lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people within Iraq as well as many who have fled for exile in nearby countries. It runs a 'safe house' in Baghdad, Iraq, where 20 LGBT people are currently housed and where previously 70 people have stayed for various periods.

The safe house will be featured in a documentary on BBC Radio this Sunday. It includes interviews with the person who runs it as well as some of those who live there.

Since it was founded Iraqi LGBT has provided safety for over 100 people, including supporting 70 people financially. It has provided support for 23 people outside Iraq including shelter, medication and food.

The reapplication for charitable status follows a change in the group's aims which removed working the requirement to work for change in Iraqi law, which resulted in a previous rejection by the UK's Charity Commission as this was regarded as 'political'. It also follows the work of the group's volunteer accountant on preparing accounts to meet charity commissioners’ standards. In addition the group has become a Company limited by guarantee (No. 06954355).

Iraqi LGBT’s accountant Josh Botham ATT ACPA ACCA IIT[dip] explained that - like others such as Amnesty International - the group has had to use circuitous routes in order to get funds to exiles, as well as pay bribes in order to secure release of people under real threat of death.

Botham said that as part of the application the group would publish full accounts on its website shortly.

Funding for the group in the past has come from the group's own members and donations including one in 2008 from the US Representative Jared Polis. He donated $10,000 (£6,853) via the Heartland Alliance to aid the project in Syria.

Polis' funding went to the Chicago based LGBT group Heartland Alliance to provide for five people to be moved from Iraq to Syria and to provide housing rent, food and other basic needs in Syria. This project ran between 1 June and 31 December 2008. Included in the cost was the living accommodation for the local administrator of the group.

Botham said that: "Providing the financial support involved a difficult money transfer process in order to avoid coming to the attention of Syrian authorities. Such an operation also meant that in order to safeguard the lives of these refugees, people were only informed on a need to know basis."

"Heartland Alliance [as grant provider] however insisted that our group should meet up with the Lebanese LGBT group, Helem, in November 2008, at that same time that some prominent members of Heartland Alliance visited Syria."

"The result was disastrous for our group, Iraqi LGBT. Some of our members were arrested by Syrian police in Damascas in (which city). With the help of a local lawyer, Iraqi LGBT managed to get these people released. However one of them was later to be deported back to Iraq."

Iraqi LGBT has experienced other difficulties in coordinating activities with Heartland Alliance. Another grant of $10,000 meant for Iraqi LGBT came to the group from the Elisabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, based in Chicago. Botham gave them a budget of how to allocate this money.

However communications broke down with the Heartland Alliance's representative when it was claimed that the last transfer of $4,000 had never been received by our sources in Iraq. Says Botham: “This underlines the perils of where we are working and who we are working with."

"Iraqi LGBT has supported another nine Iraqi refugees in Syria, as well as a safe house in Iraq and has had to spend money on freeing people from custody. Obviously in such situations one doesn't get a receipt."

"Between 1 June 2008 to 31 May 2009, the Polis supported project represented one sixth of the group's expenditure. Just under a quarter of the group's funding actually came from the group's founder, Ali Hili, his family and his partner."

Iraqi LGBT Chair Ali Hilli added: "We are confident that the charitable status will be accepted and will be a great help for the group. As we have been reporting for several years now, our people in Iraq are being killed and we desperately need more financial support to save them and where necessary move them out of Iraq."

"This work is dangerous and threatening. Even in London I am under real threat and have been forced to move as a result."

Donations for Iraqi LGBT can be made via PayPal. See the group's website at http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com for details.


Syria underground Railroad Project

Covering the period from 1 June 2008 to 31 May 2009

Figures in US dollars

Total funding received from Heartland Alliance $15,520
Telephone cards and other means of communication $413
Basic food and supplies $486
Travel costs including passports and visa’s (for 5 people, from Bagdad to Damascus by road) $3,000
Legal fees (to prevent an individual from being imprisoned in Iraq) $4,000
Rent (Damascus) $7,000
Transportation costs (inside Syria to move nine Iraqi LGBT refugees when necessary
to another safe house) $413
Other costs $208
Total $15,218
Balance left $2

Iraqi LGBT expenditure in Syria

In addition to the funding received from Heartland Alliance, Iraqi LGBT from its own resources has supported another nine Iraqi LGBT refugees who had already made there own way to Syria.

The Heartland Alliance would not allow us to include the cost of transferring the money as part of their donation. We paid for it ourselves and we have therefore listed this bank fee under our own expenditure

Figures in pounds sterling

Covering the period from 1 June 2008 – 31 May 2009

Rent, food and other amenities like electricity (For two safe houses including any bribes paid.) £8,731
Communication (mobile phones, phone cards, internet etc) £95
Bank charges £415
Total £9,241


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Iraqi gays condemn Obama/Clinton inaction on pogrom

Embassy statement 'offensive and insulting'

Iraqi lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT) has spoken of their deep anger and offence at a statement by the Baghdad US Embassy concerning the violence and murder campaign against gays.

In a response to US Rep. Jared Polis, following a meeting with Iraqi government officials, chargé d’affaires Patricia Butenis said "We have no evidence that [the Iraq government's] security forces are in any way involved with these militias.

"Iraqi LGBT has been reporting for four years on police involvement with the terror campaign.

Group members speaking from Iraq said that they are "fed up with such 'political' words" and that the Americans are doing nothing to stop the terror campaign against them. They believe that the priority for Hillary Clinton's State Department and Obama's administration is to not upset the Iraqi government as they have no other allies within the country.

They believe that no-one is trying to help them and feel that the current timid diplomacy "will not do much good".

"These words from the American embassy officials are insulting to us, and to those many friends of ours who have murdered. This statement is evidence that the Iraqi government is doing nothing to protect its citizens.

''They are responsible for these crimes through bringing no one to justice, refusing to acknowledge their police's involvement and providing no rights for Iraqi LGBT in law."

"People should not forget that what's happening in Iraq right now is a direct result of the unlawful US invasion.

"Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Rights Program, has also criticism the State Department. In an interview with EdgeBoston, responding to State spokesperson John T. Fleming's pointed statement that 'homosexuality is not a crime in Iraq', Long responded that the fact that homosexuality is not a crime punishable by death "would be an interesting fact if the law, or the rule of law, mattered in Iraq.

"Long has just returned from a fact-finding mission to Iraq where he spoke to 25 survivors from Baghdad and other cities, including Najaf, Basra and Samarra.

As a consequence of what they found, Human Rights Watch has been organizing ways for as many LGBT Iraqis as possible to get out of the country.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who has spoken about Iraqi government involvement with the violence, has written with Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank to U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill.

"As LGBT Americans and cochairs of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, we are disturbed and shocked at allegations that Ministry of the Interior Security Forces may be involved in the mass persecution and execution of LGBT Iraqis ... The persecution of Iraqis based on sexual orientation or gender identity is escalating and is unacceptable regardless of whether these policies are extrajudicial or state-sanctioned.

"The letter called on the U.S. embassy in Iraq to "prioritize the investigation" of the allegations and work with the Iraqi government to end the executions of LGBT Iraqis. Polis is drafting another letter that would be signed by more members of Congress and sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Iraq’s Newly Open Gays Face Scorn and Murder

BAGHDAD — The relative freedom of a newly democratic Iraq and the recent improvement in security have allowed a gay subculture to flourish here. The response has been swift and deadly.

In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.

“Three of my closest friends have been killed during the past two weeks alone,” said Basim, 23, a hairdresser. “They had been planning to go to a cafe away from Sadr City because we don’t feel safe here, but they killed them on the way. I had planned to go with them, but fortunately I didn’t.”
Basim, who preferred to be called “Basima” — the feminine version of his name — wears his hair long for Iraq. It falls to just below the ear. His ears are pierced, uncommon for Iraqi males. White makeup covers his face, a popular look for gay men in Sadr City who say they prefer light skin.
Though risky, his look is one result of the overall calm here that has allowed Iraqis to enjoy freedoms unthinkable two years ago: A growing number of women walk the streets unveiled, a few even daring to wear dresses above the knee. Families gather in parks for cookouts, and more people have begun to venture out at night.

But that has not changed the reality that Iraq remains religious, conservative — and still violent. The killers, the police say, are not just Shiite death squads, but also tribal and family members shamed by their gay relatives. (And the recent spate of violence has seemed aimed at more openly gay men, rather than homosexuality generally.)

Clerics in Sadr City have urged followers to help root out homosexuality in Iraqi society, and the police have begun their own crackdown on gay men.
“Homosexuality is against the law,” said Lt. Muthana Shaad, at a police station in the Karada district, a neighborhood that has become popular with gay men. “And it’s disgusting.”

For the past four months, he said, officers have been engaged in a “campaign to clean up the streets and get the beggars and homosexuals off them.”

Gay men, he said, can be arrested only if they are seen engaging in sex, but the police try to drive them away. “These people, we make sure they can’t get together in a coffee shop or walk together in the street — we make them break up,” he said.

Gay men and lesbians in Iraq have long been among the targets of both Shiite and Sunni death squads, but their murders have been overshadowed by the hundreds of overall weekly casualties during the height of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007.

In 2005, the country’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a religious decree that said gay men and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed.” He added, “The people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.” The language has since been removed from his Web site.

In recent months, groups of gay men have been taking greater chances, gathering in cafes and other public places in Baghdad, Basra, Najaf and other cities. On a recent night in Sadr City, several, their hair parted down the middle, talked as they quietly sipped tea at a garishly lighted cafe, oblivious to the stares of passers-by.

Basim, who would not give his last name out of fear for his safety, said he knew at least 20 young men from Sadr City’s large but hidden gay community who had disappeared during the past two months. He said he had learned later that each was found dead. After three of his friends were killed, he stayed inside his house for a week. Recently he has begun to go out again.

“I can’t stay at home all day,” he said. “I need to see my friends.”
Publicly, the Iraqi police have acknowledged only the deaths of six gay men in the neighborhood. But privately, police officials say the figure is far higher.

The chief of a Sadr City police station, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to reporters, said family members had probably committed most of the Sadr City killings. He played down the role of death squads that had once been associated with the Mahdi Army, the militia that controlled Sadr City until American and Iraqi forces dislodged them last spring.

“Our investigation has found that these incidents are being committed by relatives of the gays — not just because of the militias,” he said. “They are killing them because it is a shame on the family.”

He said families typically refused to cooperate with the investigation or even to claim the bodies. No arrests have been made in the killings.
At the same time, though, clerics associated with Moktada al-Sadr, an anti-American cleric with significant influence in Sadr City, have devoted a portion of Friday Prayer services to inveighing against homosexuality.

“The community should be purified from such delinquent behavior like stealing, lying and the effeminacy phenomenon among men,” Sheik Jassem al-Mutairi said during his sermon last Friday. Homosexuality, he said, was “far from manhood and honesty.”

Abu Muhaned al-Diraji, a Sadrist official in Sadr City, said the clerics were in no way encouraging people to kill gay men.

“All we are doing is giving advice to people to take care of their sons,” Mr. Diraji said. He acknowledged, however, that some of the killing had been committed by members of “special groups,” or death squads.

“In general, it is the families that are killing the gay son, but I know that there are gunmen involved in this, too,” he said. “But we disavow anybody committing this kind of crime and we encourage the people to follow the law.”

In addition to the killings, a Sadr City cafe frequented by gay men recently burned down under mysterious circumstances.

Some young gay men in Sadr City have become nihilistic about the ever present threat.

“I don’t care about the militias anymore, because they’re going to kill me anyway — today, tomorrow or the day after,” said a man named Sa’ad, who has been taking estrogen and has developed small breasts. “I hate my community and my relatives. If they had their way, the result would be one gunshot.”


Friends can send Donations to IRAQI LGBT: The immediate urgent priority is to Support and Donate Money to LGBT activists in Iraq in order to assist their efforts to help other Lesbians, Gay, Bisexuals and Trans gender Iraqi's facing death, persecution and systematic Targeting by the Iraqi Police and Badr and Sadr Militia and to raise awareness about the wave of homophobic murders in Iraq to the outside world. Funds raised will also help provide LGBTs under threat of killing with refuge in the safer parts of Iraq (including safe houses, food, electricity, medical help) and assist efforts help them seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

Donate to our PayPal Account : iraqilgbt@yahoo.co.uk .Or make cheque payable to (IRAQI LGBT) send it to our address:Iraqi Lgbt22 Notting Hill GateUnit 111London,W11 3JEUnited Kingdom

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

URGENT - Iraq: Letter From a Member of Iraqi LGBT who Pleads for Help “Before It’s Too Late”

Is there anyone to help me before it’s too late? That is the question asked by a member of Iraqi-LGBT in Baghdad, who says he is to be executed, in a letter released at the weekend by Iraqi-LGBT in London.

The handwritten letter in Arabic was received by the group in London last week, the writer claiming that he has received the death sentence for belonging to Iraqi-LGBT – a banned organisation in the country.

Releasing the letter to UK Gay News, Iraqi-LGBT requested independent translation – and this was done by two separate translators in the USA.

“We are confident that the letter is genuine,” Ali Hili said, adding that the name on the letter is known to him.

“I have known this person for the past 18 months,” he said.

“At the moment, we think that there are five gays among the 128 people who are reported to be awaiting execution,” Mr. Hili said.

And he added that while the Ministry of Interior is officially denying that there are five people sentenced to death for having contact with Iraqi-LGBT, he has spoken to someone in the Ministry who has confirmed the five death sentences.

In the letter released by Iraqi-LGBT in London, the writer claims that at his court case he was not permitted to defend himself, or even get legal representation.

It is virtually impossible to check on the authenticity of the letter, which translated into English, with names and an address removed, says:

Call for help.

“My name is [name and address removed], Baghdad, Iraq.

I was detained at my residence December 15, 2008 after midnight, by the Ministry of Interior.

During the detention process, they hit me on the head and my rear end to make me confess that I am a member of the Iraqi-LGBT.

Later on the Ministry of Interior transferred me to the criminal justice court in al Karkh, and after a short trial I was sentenced to death.

I was sentenced without given the chance to defend myself or to hire an attorney. Two days later I was returned to the same place and was told that the execution will take place in two weeks.

Please pass this message to [my friend] in London. I just wish to tell him not to forget about my mother and siblings, I was their only supporter.

I am all hopeful that Allah will show Iraqis a life with no death sentences.
And lastly, I ask you for help.

Is there anyone to help me before it is too late?”

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Gays killed in Baghdad as clerics urge clampdown

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Two gay men were killed in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, a local official said on Saturday, and police said they had found the bodies of four more after clerics urged a crackdown on a perceived spread of homosexuality.

Homosexuality is prohibited almost everywhere in the Middle East, but conditions have become especially dangerous for gays and lesbians in Iraq since the rise of religious militias after U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein six years ago.

"Two young men were killed on Thursday. They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor," a Sadr City official who declined to be named said.

The police source who declined to be named said the bodies of four gay men were unearthed in Sadr City on March 25, each bearing a sign reading "pervert" in Arabic on their chests.

Sermons condemning homosexuality were read at the last two Friday prayer gatherings in Sadr City, a sprawling Baghdad slum of some 2 million people. The slum is a bastion of support for fiery Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army militia.

The Mehdi Army has frozen its activities over the last year and government forces have wrested control of the slum.

Many young men who might have cut their hair short and grown beards when religious gangs controlled much of Iraq now dress in a more Western style as government forces take back control.

Some are now accused of being gay, and residents of Sadr City say at least one coffee shop has become a gay hangout.

A member of the slum's Sadrist office said the Mehdi Army was not involved in the killings, but said homosexuality was now more widespread since the Mehdi Army lost control of the slum.
"This (homosexuality) has spread because of the absence of the Mehdi Army, the spread of sexual films and satellite television and a lack of government surveillance," said the office's Sheikh Ibrahim al-Gharawi, a Shi'ite cleric.

Homosexual acts are punishable by up to seven years in prison in Iraq. A gay Iraqi man said any alleged crimes should be left to the law to deal with.

"If they've committed a crime, then there is the law. Killing is a big sin," he said, giving his name as Laith.

Friday, March 27, 2009



London, 30 March 2009

Urgent action is needed to halt the execution of 128 prisoners on death row in Iraq. Many of those awaiting execution were convicted for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality, according to IRAQI-LGBT, a UK based organisation of Iraqis supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Iraq.

According to Ali Hili of IRAQI-LGBT, the Iraqi authorities plan to start executing them in batches of 20 from this week.

IRAQI-LGBT urgently requests that the UK Government, Human Rights Groups and the United Nations Human Rights Commission intervene with due speed to prevent this tragic miscarriage of justice from going ahead.

“We have information and reports on members of our community whom been arrested and waiting for execution for the crimes of homosexuality,’’ said Mr Hili. “Iraqi lgbt has been a banned from running our activities on Iraqi soil.”

“Raids by the Iraqi police and ministry of interior forces cost our group the disappearing and killing of 17 members working for Iraqi lgbt since 2005,” added Mr Hili.

“Death penalty has been increasing at an alarming rate in Iraq since the new Iraqi regime reintroduced it in August 2004.
In 2008 at least 285 people were sentenced to death, and at least 34 executed. In 2007 at least 199 people were sentenced to death and 33 were executed, while in 2006 at least 65 people were put to death. The actual figures could be much higher as there are no official statistics for the number of prisoners facing execution,” he said.

IRAQI LGBT is concerned that the Iraqi authorities have not disclosed the identities of those facing imminent execution, stoking fears that many of them may have been sentenced to death after trials that failed to satisfy international standards for fair trial.

Most are likely to have been sentenced to death by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI), whose proceedings consistently fall short of international standards for fair trial. Some are likely to have. Allegations of torture are not being investigated adequately or at all by the CCCI. Torture of detainees held by Iraqi security forces remains rife.

Iraq’s creaking judicial system is simply unable to guarantee fair trials in ordinary criminal cases, and even less so in capital cases, with the result, we fear, that numerous people have gone to their death after unfair trials.

The Iraqi government must order an immediate halt to these executions and establish a moratorium on all further executions in Iraq, particularly since due process cannot be guaranteed. The state executing people for ‘morals’ crimes is also obviously unacceptable and deplorable.

Amnesty International has called on the Iraqi authorities to make public all information pertaining to the 128 people, including their full names, details of the charges against them, the dates of their arrest, trial and appeal and their current places of detention.

The immediate urgent priority is to Support and Donate Money to LGBT activists in Iraq in order to assist their efforts to help other Lesbians, Gay, Bisexuals and Trans gender Iraqi's facing death, persecution and systematic Targeting by the Iraqi Police and Badr and Sadr Militia and to raise awareness about the wave of homophobic murders in Iraq to the outside world.
Funds raised will also help provide LGBTs under threat of killing with refuge in the safer parts of Iraq (including safe houses, food, electricity, medical help) and assist efforts help them seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Iraqi Lgbt
22 Notting Hill Gate
Unit # 111
London , W11 3JE
United Kingdom
Mob: ++44 798 1959 453
Website : http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Gay Iraqi could face death penalty if deportation goes ahead.

Asylum seeker would become seventh gay Iraqi to be returned from the UK to country where homosexuality is punishable by death

A gay Iraqi man due for deportation tomorrow has been told by the UK Border Agency to conduct his relationships "in private" on his return to Iraq, where homosexuality is punishable by death.

Campaign group Iraqi LGBT says the asylum seeker will become the seventh gay Iraqi to be returned to the country by the UK, despite the country being one of only nine in the world where homosexual people are executed.

Though a ruling was made in September 2007 allowing two gay Iraqis to remain in the UK, campaigners working on behalf of the man facing deportation tomorrow say his case was held too long ago to benefit from the change in case law achieved in 2007.

Keith Best, the director of the Immigration Advisory Service, told the Guardian that the government ought to give the asylum seeker a fresh hearing.

The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) has said that the man's homosexuality did not form the basis of his original asylum application in 2001 and that his subsequent conviction for seeking to stay in the country illegally makes him an untrustworthy defendant, undermining his claim to be gay.

Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrats' housing spokeswoman, who is the Iraqi's MP, is perplexed by a recommendation from the UKBA that the Iraqi conduct his relationships in private.

The document says: "Even if your client's homosexuality were to be established it is viewed that it would be possible for your client to conduct such relationships in private on his return to Iraq. This would allow your client to express his sexuality, albeit in a more limited way than he could do elsewhere."

Teather, the MP for Brent East, said: "Immigration ministers need to show some humanity. If this deportation goes ahead there is a terrible risk that this man will be killed. How can we possibly claim to be a country that values human rights if we are willing to endanger a life in this way?"

Best said: "This is an incredible position. They [the UKBA] cannot say that on the one hand they do not believe him to be homosexual and then recommend ways in which he can cover up his homosexuality."

In September 2007 two gay victims of attempted assassination attempts by Shia Islamist death squads in Iraq were granted asylum in the UK after having their initial applications turned down by the Home Office despite compelling evidence of homophobic persecution.

That case overturned the claim that national governments did not recognise homophobic persecution as a legitimate ground for asylum under the 1951 refugee convention.

Homosexuality has been punishable by death in Iraq since 2001, when Saddam Hussein's government amended the country's penal code. The move was thought to be an overture to the country's Islamic conservatives, whose support Saddam latterly tried to win.

Iraqi LGBT says that more than 430 gay men have been murdered in Iraq since 2003. Safe houses are reported to operate in Baghdad in which some 40 young gay men hide.

The asylum seeker is scheduled to leave the UK tomorrow on an 8.30am flight but this may be delayed since the government has yet to reply to the representations made on his behalf and he cannot be deported until that point.