Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NGLTF Condemns Gay 'Glued Anus' Deaths in Iraq;
Donates to Exile Group
This important statement from NGLTF came to me from Hans Scholl of the White Rose advocacy group. Needless to say, I'm beyond pleased to see NGLTF do the right thing finally about the dire situation for gays in Iraq.

Task Force condemns brutal murder of LGBT Iraqis

April 22, 2009

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

Washington, DC - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issues condemnation over the murder and torture of LGBT people in Iraq, as new reports emerge about increasingly brutal tactics against gay men.

Statement by Rea Carey,
Executive Director of NGLTF
In our capacity as the leading national American progressive LGBT organization, we are guided in our advocacy by the core philosophy of an injury to one, is an injury to all. That philosophy doesn't stop at the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

We have read with growing concern, the news accounts from many outlets about the targeting of LGBT Iraqi citizens for harassment, denial of basic human rights, mutilation and death.

The recent escalation of torture, including the gluing of anuses of homosexuals who are then forced to swallow potent laxatives, causing diarrhea and death, forces us to raise our progressive voices in protest.

We unequivocally deplore the brutal and inhumane murders being perpetrated on LGBT people in Iraq.

Our staff is working diligently to address the deplorable conditions under which our brothers and sisters struggle to stay alive in Baghdad. Many avenues of proactive actions have been implemented.

NGLTF has done the following:

- Sent a letter to the U.S. State Department requesting a full and transparent investigation into the killings;

- Contacted Congressmember Jared Polis to gain his insight into the needs of LGBT Iraqis and praised him for contributing $10,000 to Iraqi LGBT, a UK-based exile group working on behalf of LGBT persons;

- Matched the Polis donation. NGLTF has given $10,000 to Iraqi LGBT to continue their life-saving underground network of support;

- Communicated with other national American LGBT human rights organizations, requesting that they too deplore the murders and offer financial assistance.

I would be remiss if I also didn't praise the small bands of street activists who recently staged vigils for LGBT Iraqis in New York and San Francisco.

Their demonstrations brought much-needed community attention, along with American and global media coverage, to LGBT Iraqis and this must be commended by non-governmental agencies.

When history looks back on this time, and LGBT Americans ask "What did NGLTF do as genocidal policies were decimating the LGBT community of Iraq?," we want the answer to be, "All that we could. We were not silent."

Let the record show that on April 22, 2009, our organization, on behalf of all LGBT Americans, stood in solidarity with LGBT Iraqis.

We share this excerpt from the Arab press, to educate Americans about the precise brutal nature of the anti-LGBT crimes motivating us to speak out:

Bodies of 7 Gays in Baghdad Morgue
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.”

Yanar Mohammad told 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 Ameri 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." ...

Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.”

NLGTF will continue to closely monitor the situation of LGBT people in Iraq.

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