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Rescue project for endangered gay and ’emo’ Iraqis

AllOut's Iraq appeal
AllOut's Iraq appeal

The online action website AllOut.org is appealing for funds to rescue dozens of Iraqis whose lives are at risk from death squads because they are gay or have adopted untraditional “emo” styles.

AllOut is partnering with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) on the project. AllOut said:

We just learned that 30 young people in Iraq are being marked for death – just because they are perceived as gay or “emo”. Many have already been attacked and gone into hiding – with nowhere to turn.

Donations are to be used to acquire vans that will smuggle endangered Iraqis to safe houses. The group cited the examples of three Iraqis in need of help, identifying them as “Naseer,” “Rasul” and “Abdul”:

[“Naseer”] is being blackmailed for his sexual orientation in the wake of having been assaulted and raped by the Iraqi police in Baghdad. Naseer’s blackmailer has threatened to send a picture of Naseer with another man to Naseer’s family and friends – causing Naseer to fear that he wil be killed either by his family or milita groups. Naseer needs to leave Baghdad immediately.

“Rasul” lives in Dora, a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad that is only slightly safer than other neighborhoods in the city. Rasul lives at his boyfriend’s house, which he is too scared to leave because of the violent threats against gay men in Iraq – and his brothers’ threats to kill him for being gay. Rasul says he can’t live in Iraq because it isn’t safe for him. He is gay, his brothers know it, and they are threatening to kill him if they find him.

“Abdul” was just attacked and bludgeoned in the head with a pipe by men who thought he was gay because of the way he dressed. (Many men Iraq have been “blocked” over the last two months – smashed in the head with a cinderblock – a newly popular and gruesome method used to kill men suspected of being gay or “emo”). When Abdul went to the hospital for treatment, the doctors suspected he was gay as well – and called the police. Abdul fled the hospital and is in a safe place now, but lacks money for medical treatment and is scared of his own shadow. Abdul needs to leave Iraq immediately.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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