More than 100 prisoners are on death row in Iraq, and officials plan to begin executing them in batches of 20. But some of them stand accused not of any real crime, but merely “being gay,” and will soon be put to death if international forces don’t step in, according to the United Kingdom’s gay rights group Iraqi-LGBT.
Amnesty International has also stepped in, demanding the names of all 128 death row prisoners, which will help determine who among them received nothing close to a “fair” trial, reports UK Gay News. This, in a country where being gay is rewarded with rape by militia groups, even though the law supposedly protects gay men and women, now plans to execute citizens for their “morals.”
And remember: It was just a few weeks ago Sec. of State Hillary Clinton told the European Parliament, “Human rights is and always will be one of the pillars of our foreign policy. In particular, persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something we take very seriously.” Step it up, Hillary.
According to Ali Hili of Iraqi-LGBT, the Iraqi authorities plan to start executing them in batches of 20 from this week. There is, said Mr. Hili, at least one member of Iraqi-LGBT who are among those to be put to death.
And the London-based group, which believes that a total of 128 executions are imminent, is calling on the UK Government, international human rights groups and the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva to 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,” Mr Hili told UK Gay News.
“Iraqi-LGBT has been a banned from running activities on Iraqi soil,” he revealed.
“Raids by the Iraqi police and Ministry of Interior forces cost our group [to the extent of] diapering and killing of 17 members working for Iraqi-LGBT since 2005.
“The 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,” Mr. Hili suggested, “could be much higher as there are no official statistics for the number of prisoners facing execution.”
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, Mr. Hili said.
“Allegations of torture are not being investigated adequately or at all by the CCCI. Torture of detainees held by Iraqi security forces remains rife.