By UK Gay News
Executions thought to start this week
LONDON, March 30, 2009 – More than 100 prisoners in Iraq are facing execution – and many of them are believed to have been convicted of the 'crime' of being gay, the UK-based Iraqi-LGBT group reported today.
According to Ali Hili of Iraqi-LGBT, the Iraqi authorities plan to start executing them in batches of 20 starting this week.
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 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.
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