Archive for April, 2009

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Iraq: Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of LGBT People

The following is a translation of a story from Alarabiya, a UAE-based media network, which was published on its Arabic website a few hours ago. While IGLHRC has not verified all of the allegations, many are consistent with patterns of human rights violations being reported from within the country. As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Iraqi government has an obligation to protect the right to life (Article 6) and the right of all its citizens “to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Article 7).

On Friday April 17, IGLHRC sent a letter to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, asking her to take specific measures to protect LGBT Iraqis. On April 8, IGLHRC and Human Rights Watch submitted an urgent appeal to the Special Procedures of the United Nations to ask for an investigation. In 2006, after a wave of violence targeted LGBT Iraqis, IGLHRC sent a letter to then Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, requesting that the U.S. government conduct a thorough investigation of the violations.

IGLHRC will continue to monitor the situation and gather more evidence about the recent wave of violence against Iraqi LGBT people. You can follow and discuss this story on IGLHRC’s blog.

Bodies of 7 Gays in Baghdad Morgue

http://www.alarabiya.net/save_print.php?print=1&cont_id=71071

by Hayyan Neyuf -Dubai/ Ali Al-Iraqi – Baghdad

A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using “Iranian gum.” … Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net that, “Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.”

According to her, the new substance “is known as the American gum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.”

According to this human rights activist, for the past 3 weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted. She says that the persecution of homosexuals is not confined to the Shiite clerics. Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.”

63 People Tortured

According to Hassan from the Iraqi LGBT group in London, attacks against homosexuals have been abundant in Shiite neighborhoods, especially poor regions and remote areas such as the southern provinces and the Hurriya, Sho’la and Sadr neighborhoods in Baghdad. So far, 63 members of the group have been tortured.

Hassan also confirmed the use of “Iranian Gum” in the torture process, adding that, “I talked to many young men who have been tortured by this method. They went to the hospital for treatment and in some cases they were refused treatment.” According to Hassan, “all religious leaders, whether Sunni or Shiite, call for the eradication of homosexuals, but the Shiites are the ones who are most involved in these attacks.”

Vigilante Groups

According to newspaper reports from local news sources in Sadr City in East Baghdad, a previously unknown group “Ahl al-Haq (the followers of Truth) have stepped up the persecution of Iraqi homosexuals after the murder of a number of them in the past few days. The news sources say that, “3 lists, each with the name of 10 gay men were circulated in Sadr City for a few hours.” The lists included a quote saying, “You, prostitutes, we will punish you!”

7 Bodies in Bagdad’s Morgue

The Alarabiya reporter, visited the Baghdad Morgue in Bab-al-Moazaam in central Baghdad, where the Neman Mohsen, the medical examiner, confirmed that they have the bodies of 7 homosexuals in the morgue. He said, “We were not able to identify the culprits who dumped the bodies in front of the morgue and fled, without being seen.”

He explained, “There were bodies with gunshots in the head and chest and the rest of the body without any obvious causes of death.”

Khalaf Abdul Hussein, from the Legal Affairs Office at the Police Station in Sadr City, told Alarabiya: “the extra-judicial killing of any citizen is a crime punishable by law. No one has the right to become a substitute for judicial authorities or executive authorities, and if there are complaints against individuals, there is law and there are police and there are government agencies. No group or class has the authority to punish people instead of the state.”

He said: “We, like everyone else, have heard rumors about these cases, but we can’t comment on something that is not evidence, and there is no evidence for these crimes either in terms of motivation or in terms of the nature of the criminal acts. We do not know the motives of the killers and we do not know the intentions of those killed.”

“Son of a Bitch”

Officials and tribal leaders in Sadr City are reluctant to provide details about the murder of homosexuals. However, Sheikh Hashem Mokhani, one of the tribal elders in the city, said: “The people refer to these sexual perverts as ‘son of a bitch,’ but most of the victims were not residents of Sadr City. They used to hang out in a [gay] cafe, on Palestine Street in Baghdad.”

Sheik Salal Al-kaabi, one of the elders of Sadr City says: “we have heard that the tribes, to whom these perverts belonged, declared their lives worthless and allowed their death, but we have also heard that an organization calling itself the followers of Truth (ahl-al Haq) are reponsible for the murders and have written on the chest of victim a sentence that reads: This is the fate of a son of a bitch.”

Original Article

See also:

Iraq: IGLHRC Asks the Iraqi Government to Protect LGBT People
04/17/2009

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The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has sent a letter to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Salim, requesting that she takes specific measures to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis and prevent hate crimes against those perceived to be gay. IGLHRC’s letter, written to coincide with Ms. Salim’s visit to Washington D.C., responds to a recent wave of violent crimes against Iraqi citizens perceived to be gay.

Just hours before IGLHRC sent its letter, an Iraqi group identified as “Fazilat” (Virtue) posted flyers threatening homosexuals with death on walls in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. The flyers, distributed on April 17, list the names of some of the would-be targets and states that “we will soon punish all you perverts.” Residents of Sadr City say the people who were outed in these fliers have gone into hiding.

Previous acts of anti-LGBT violence in Iraq include the April 2, 2009 murder of two men in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. An unidentified local official described these men as “sexual perverts (Monharef Jensiyan) who were killed by members of their tribe to restore their family honor.” Prior to death, the men’s relatives had disowned them and they were also thrown out of their tribes. So far no one has claimed their bodies and the government has not launched an investigation into the case. These murders took place one week after Iraqi authorities unearthed the bodies of 4 men killed by gunshots in Sadr City on March 25. The words “pervert” and “son of a bitch” (jaravah: a derogatory term to describe homosexuals) were written on the chests of the victims. As part of this new wave of violence, a coffee house in Sadr City that was frequented by gay men has also been burnt down.

Apart from these cases, IGLHRC has also received reports of the arrest, torture, and murder of several members of the group Iraqi LGBT amid a nationwide government crackdown on gay-friendly businesses across Iraq. Several other reports indicate dozens of extra-judicial murders of LGBT people across Iraq during the past few months.

In response to these violent murders, on April 8, 2009, IGLHRC and Human Rights Watch submitted an urgent appeal to the Special Procedures of the United Nations to ask for an investigation.

IGLHRC is also working closely with the D.C.-based Council on Global Equality to bring the plight of gay and lesbian Iraqis to the attention of U.S. government officials, who will be meeting with the Iraqi minister next week.

No Action is requested at this time. Below is IGLHRC’s letter to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights.

April 17, 2009

Her Excellency Wijdan Mikhail Salim
Minister of Human Rights
Unios (Naqabat) St. Mansour
Baghdad, Iraq
Fax: +964-1-5372017
minister@humanrights.gov.iq
info@humanrights.gov.iq

Your Excellency:

On behalf of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), I am writing to express deep concern about an alarming increase in violence based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in Iraq over the past few weeks. Iraqi officials have recently confirmed the murder of six men whose bodies were found in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. The Iraqi authorities unearthed the bodies of 4 men killed by gunshots on March 25, 2009. On April 2, Iraqi police found the bodies of two additional men who were reportedly killed by members of their tribe to restore their family honor. Media reports suggest that vigilantes killed these men because of their perceived sexual orientation.

This wave of violence coincides with an arson attack against a Sadr City coffee house that was popular among gay men. IGLHRC has also received reports of official persecution—abduction, torture, trial without due process, and execution—of Iraqis who the government believes to have been part of a gay organization. In addition, IGLHRC learned today that an Iraqi group known as “Fazilat” (Virtue) has circulated flyers around Sadr City threatening gay men with death and listing the names of their potential targets.

As a signatory to international treaties that assure the right to privacy, liberty and security of the person and the right to non-discrimination, it is Iraq’s obligation to protect its citizens and ensure that human rights violations are fully investigated and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

The new Iraqi Constitution protects the equality of all citizens before the law (Article 14), guarantees everyone’s right to enjoy “life, freedom, and security” (Article 15) and reiterates the right of all Iraqis to live “in freedom and with dignity” (Article 35). The mob murder of men perceived to be gay also violates the Iraqi Constitution, since the law protects the private lives of all citizens (Article 17), makes any kind of violence against family members a crime (Article 29) and prohibits extra-judicial punishment (Article 19, Section 2). Despite the legal obligations of the Iraqi government to protect all citizens, crimes committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis and those believed to be homosexual are not properly investigated or prosecuted.

In accordance with Article 2 of the Charter of the Ministry of Human Rights (CMHR), which was passed by the Iraqi parliament as law number 60 in 2006, it is the responsibility of your ministry to “promote …and secure the implementation of…. the culture of human rights and personal freedom in accordance with international treaties that Iraq has entered… and prevent its violation.”

To fulfill this mandate, we request that your ministry take the following steps:

* Actively and thoroughly document cases of human rights abuses against LGBT people and include this information in your annual report on the status of human rights in Iraq for submission to parliament and the cabinet. (Article 3, Section 2, CMHR)

* Prepare a comprehensive report on state, community and family violence based on sexual orientation with concrete recommendations on how to stop such human rights violations. (Article 3, Section 3, CMHR)

* Launch an investigation into the Iraqi legal system—including police, judiciary, and penal systems—to assure the full enjoyment of human rights principles by all people, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

* Promote a culture of tolerance and respect for the rights of LGBT people at the tribal level and within the larger Iraqi society. (Article 3, Section 11, CMHR)

IGLHRC is ready to support the efforts of the Iraqi government to secure the rights of its same-sex practicing citizens through training, consultation and information exchange.

We trust that you will give this matter due attention.

Yours sincerely,

Cary Alan Johnson
Executive Director
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

See also:

See also:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 09, 2009

Contact : Brendan Fay

(917) 402-3134

Walter Armstrong

(212) 674-6168

Iraqi Murder Campaign of Gays Spurs Vigil, Rally In NY
Gay and Human Rights Groups To Demand Immediate Investigation and Diplomatic Intervention from Pres. Obama, Sec. Clinton., Other Officials On ‘Sexual Cleansing’
(NYC) LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and human rights groups, increasingly alarmed about reports by the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters on the continuing harassment and murder=2 0of gay men, including 6 last week, and of the fate of an estimated 128 men on death row (many convicted for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality), will hold a protest and vigil outside the Iraq Mission, 14 E. 79th Street in Manhattan, Friday, April 10, 2009 at 12 Noon.
Organizers of Friday’s protest point to the staggering number of gay men killed: over 400 since 2003, and over 85 since 2005. Men have been identified in and around Baghdad’s Shiit slum known as Sadr City with bullet-ridden bodies, some with broken arms and legs, and with the words “pervert” or “puppy” (a derogatory word used by residents in Sadr City to refer to gays) written on their chests. In an act of intimidation, a café frequented by lgbt citizens of Sadr City has been firebombed.
Reports on the root cause of the murders range from religious decrees by clerics — Moktada al-Sadr, an influential, anti-American cleric with considerable influence in Sadr City recently d evoting Friday prayer service to inveigh against homosexuality – to families and tribal groups repulsed by homosexuality who defend their killings as being perpetrated at the behest of the ‘democratic’ Iraqi government. Shiite and Sunni death squads, militias, and officials point to homosexuality as a ‘crime punishable by death’. The Iraqi government continues with its plans to execute in ‘batches of 20’ gay men detained without legal representation and verbally and physically forced into some ‘confession’.
“These gross human-rights violations are not a series of isolated or sporadic acts of violence but the widespread practice of ‘sexual cleansing’ against the Iraqi gay community,” states Walter Armstrong, an organizer of the vigil and rally Friday. “We are delivering a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanding that he take immediate steps to publicly condemn this anti-gay terrorism and order his security forces to put an end to it. We also ask President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to hold al-Malaki accountable for these violations of international law.”
Brendan Fay, a co-organizer, is urging immediate intervention by U.S. officials, namely President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. “LGBT people are being harassed, threatened, detained, tortured, shot and maimed with no right to legal representation, all this with the unabashed cooperation of family, tribal leaders and state officials. We cannot afford to wait until GOP leaders lift their hold on President Obama’s nominee Christopher Hill to the post of Ambassador to Iraq. We merely need aggressive, diplomatic action from Obama, Secretary Clinton and anyone with the power and will to save the lives of our brothers in Iraq.”
Ali Hill, an exiled, self-identified gay Iraqi runs a London-based group called Iraqi LGBT that is working to put a stop to the murders. Iraqi LGBT has posted a petition at its web site, iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com. Additionally, his group operates a series of safe houses for lgbt Iraqis.
On Friday organizers will demand that the State Department help support the protection of targeted or threatened lgbt Iraqi’s with funds and other resources to expand the network of safe houses and the “underground railroad” that currently takes at-risk individuals out of the country. Additionally, Fay, Armstrong, Hill and Michael Petrelis, who helped form a similar rally in San Francisco on April 6th, ask that members of the lgbt and human rights communities contact their elected officials and advocacy organizations to demand change of ‘lax’ U.S. policy towards persecuted lgbt individuals worldwide, most pressingly in Iraq.

See also previous posts:

Video: San Francisco Gays Protest 6 Gay Iraqi Murders – April 6, 2009, Harvey Milk Plaza

Gay Iraq Vigils: NYC on Friday 10 April, London Next Thursday 16 April 2009

By Michael Petrelis

Two international actions are planned over the coming two week because of the murder of gay Iraqis in the slums of Baghdad.

Activists will gather in New York City this week, and in London next week, to protest the deaths of gay Iraqis, the continuing American occupation of the country, and to express strong solidarity with the LGBT people of Iraq.

Big thanks to Brendan and Ali for organizing the vigils.

Here are the details for each action that I’ve received from the organizers. If you’re near these cities, please try and get to the actions.

NEW YORK CITY ACTION:

Contact: Brendan Fay

E: brendan@stpatsforall.com

P: 718-721-2780

We will gather later this week to remember our murdered brothers in Iraq, at a vigil in front of the Iraqi mission to the United Nations. We will light candles, lay a wreathe with rainbow ribbons, and also speak out against homophobic violence everywhere. A letter of protest will be delivered to the mission.

Please join us!

What: Vigil of Remembrance & Solidarity With LGBT Iraqis

When: Friday, April 10

Time: 12 Noon

Where: Iraq Mission to the UN

14 E 79th St

New York, NY 10075

LONDON ACTION:

Contact: Ali Hili

Email: iraqilgbt@yahoo.co.uk

Web: http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

What: Protest and Support Iraqi LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgendered

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Location: Home Office Direct Communications Unit

2 Marsham Street

London, United Kingdom

See also: London protest about Iraqi gay executions by LGBT Asylum News

See more details and RSVP via Facebook

homop_09_6Here comes the second annual campaign “Month against Homophobia” in Belarus.

Sent by Gay.by

It is going to be two years on end when Belarusian LGBT-groups are carrying on a campaign to resist homophobia and homosexual discrimination in Belarus. The campaign “Month against Homophobia” will be conducted from the 17th of April till the 17th of May in Minsk, Grodno and Luninets.

The campaign is organized by Belarusian Initiative for Sexual and Gender Equality and Remedial Project “Gay Belarus”, supported by portal Gay.by, Belarusian Helsinki Committee and Youth Social Democrats – Young Community, Republican Youth Association “Meeting” and Belarusian “Green” Party. The campaign includes a range of seminars dedicated to the problem of discrimination and homophobia in Belarus, a round table
discussion with non-state organizations and religion representatives invited. There are planned some educational and informational activities for both the LGBT community and the society on the whole.

Among the main objectives of “Month against Homophobia in Belarus” there are:

– To resist any kind of physical, moral and symbolic violence to people with a different sexual orientation and gender identity;

– To show solidarity to all the gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the world, including those unable to defend their rights;

– To carry on a wider campaign for human right defense;

“Month against Homophobia in Belarus” starts with a premiere demonstration of the film “The Birds Cannot Fly” which tells about LGBT Christians.

homophobiabelarus1The representatives of the Belarusian LGBT-movement are going to take part in the “Chernobyl path” which is annually held in the memory of victims of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station Disaster.

The 16th of May is the day of memory for people who died of AIDS. There will be the special activities carried on in all the regional centres, Minsk and Svetlogorsk.

The campaign is to end on the 17th of May, the international day of Homophobia resistance. On that day the representatives of “Gay Belarus” project will take part in “Slavic Pride” in Moscow while in Minsk the Belarusian Initiative for Sexual and Gender Equality will lay flowers to the Trostenets Memorial in order to commemorate Nazi concentration camps victims among who there were also gays tortured in Nazi Germany.

You can find all the detailed information about the activities within the campaign “Month against Homophobia in Belarus” on the site www.homophobia.gay.by.

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Photo of the action in San Francisco, April 6, 2009, Activists Protest Recent Slayings Of Gay Men In Iraq, Fox Reno Com

Member of Iraqi Gay Group Pleads for Help “Before It’s Too Late”, ukgaynews.org.uk

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?”

Source

Iraqi-LGBT

See also: Iraq execution: Is there anyone to help me before it’s too late? LGBT Asylum News

See also previous posts:

baiev-fet

Photo: Irina Fet, Daniil Goodwin and Nikolai Baev

Ryazan court finds gay activists guilty of popularizing homosexuality

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev

Ryazan, April 6, Interfax – A court in Ryazan has found the organizers of two public events protesting homophobia guilty of popularizing homosexuality and ruled they be fined 1,500 rubles each (34 Eur).

Nikolay Bayev and Irina Fet were found guilty of popularizing homosexuality among minors and the court ruled to fine them 1,500 rubles each, an organizer of the Moscow gay parade Nikolay Alexeyev told Interfax.

On March 30, the gay activists staged public event demonstrating posters reading, “Homosexuality is normal” and “I am proud of my homosexuality.”

The judge ordered the posters be destroyed.

Sexual minorities held their rallies near schools and near a regional children’s library, the court said.

“We will now file a complaint with the Russian Constitutional Court and later the European Court,” Alexeyev said.

Article 3.10 banning the propaganda of homosexuality “is anti-constitutional and must be repealed,” he said.

“The Ryazan region is the only region of the Russian Federation where this article is applied,” Alexeyev said.

Full Article

See also: Russia: Two Moscow Gay Pride Organisers Arrested for Propaganda of Homosexuality

Moscow, March 31, 2009 (GayRussia.ru) – Two organisers of Moscow Gay Pride were arrested yesterday by police in Ryazan, a city located 200 km southeast of Moscow

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Photo: Nicolas Baev, GayRussia.ru

Nikolai Baev and Irina Fet were detained in the city centre and charged with “propaganda of homosexuality to minors”, an offence that carries a fine.

The two were later released from custody on the promise that they would appear in Court.

This morning, they appeared in court which adjourned the case for a week for the police papers to be studied.

Nikolai Baev and Irina Fet were part of a group of four activists – including Nikolai Alekseev and a local activist from Ryazan.

They were carrying several banners in the city centre, close to a school and a library when the police made the arrests.

“In many other countries, homosexuality is explained at schools. In Russia it’s different,” Irina Fet said this morning.

The activists aimed to denounce a law on ‘administrative’ offences in force in the Russian region of Ryazan since 2006 that forbids the propaganda of homosexuality to minors.

Ryazan region is one of the regions that compose the Russian Federation – and each region can have its own laws provided none of them breach the Russian Constitution.

It is the only region of Russia which has a law explicitly banning propaganda of homosexuality.

The activists claim that the law against “propaganda of homosexuality to minors”, which forbids any discussion of homosexuality with children, is unconstitutional.

“We came here to denounce a law which is not only homophobic but which is also against the Constitution of this country,” said Nikolai Alekseev.

“This action was a necessary step to appeal the cancellation of this law to the Constitutional Court.

“We are giving a strong signal to other regions as well as federal authorities which plan to follow the same path,” he added.

Last year, the activists managed to obtain from the Ministry of Health the end of the ban on blood donation by gays – a result that is seen as the first success for LGBT rights in Russia since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993.

Their campaign for Freedom of Assembly in Russia has been going on for four years, with 168 banned gay marches appealed to European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.