April 4, 2009 by Gsmith
Since the U.S. and U.K. installed its own fascist dictatorship in Iraq, a series of bizarre developments have surfaced. This may be one of the most horrifying.
It’s no secret that LGBT life in Iraq these days is as dangerous as it gets – quite possibly the most dangerous in the world. Secret underground networks have emerged to help escort LGBT Iraqis out of the country. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein (no friend to LGBT rights himself), the safety situation for LGBT Iraqi citizens has become even more dire. And there’s concern this week that the Iraqi government is going to start executing LGBT people.
The UK-based group Iraqi-LGBT is reporting that approximately 128 individuals have been arrested and sentenced to death for nothing more than being LGBT. And according to Iraqi-LGBT, executions are scheduled this week to start in “batches of 20.”
If true, this is shocking, and quite possibly one of the gravest consequences of the Bush administration’s War in Iraq. Groups like Amnesty International have called for investigations into executions in Iraq based on sexual orientation discrimination, but sadly little has been done to address LGBT discrimination in Iraq.
If LGBT people are being systematically murdered in Iraq, it’s something the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress need to address. The U.S. government shouldn’t be in the business of propping up administrations around the globe that execute people because of their sexual orientation. We’ve created an action here where you can write your members of Congress, express concern about the reports coming out of Iraq that people are being executed simply because they are LGBT, and ask them to investigate these atrocious killings.
Less than a few weeks ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a promise that the persecution of gays and lesbians around the globe wouldn’t be ignored by the Obama administration. Here’s her words: “Human rights is and always will be one of the pillars of our foreign policy. And in particular, the persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something that we take very seriously. It is terribly unfortunate that right now in unfortunately many places in the world violence against gays and lesbians, certainly discrimination and prejudice are not just occurring but condoned and protected. And we would hope that over the next few years we could have some influence in trying to change those attitudes…”
Given how much money and military power we’re pumping into Iraq, there may be no country where the U.S. has greater influence right now. These alleged executions need to be investigated, and they need to be investigated now.
One other thing about Iraq. Since the U.S. invasion, the death penalty in Iraq has soared to levels that not even Texas approaches. According to Amnesty: “The use of the death penalty has increased rapidly in Iraq since it was reinstated in mid-2004. Since then more than 270 people have been sentenced to death and at least 100 people have reportedly been executed…. [S]ince , there has been a rapid rise in executions with at least 65 people, including at least two women, reportedly executed by hanging in 2006. Iraq now figures among the countries with the highest numbers of executions reported in 2006. Higher totals were recorded only in China, Iran and Pakistan.”
Those death penalty numbers should raise some serious concerns for both the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress when it comes to the human rights situation and the criminal justice system in Iraq.