A UK group the promotes LGBT rights in Iraq claims that the government is preparing to execute scores of people for being gay.

IRAQI-LGBT says that Iraqi authorities are to begin executing up to 128 prisoners on death row in groups of 20 from this week.

Ali Hili of the group said: “We have information and reports on members of our community whom been arrested and waiting for execution for the crimes of homosexuality. Iraqi-LGBT has been banned from running our activities on Iraqi soil.”

The group claims that 285 people were executed by the regime last year and that the number has risen since the other-throw of the Saddam Hussein regime. It also says that 17 of its members have disappeared since 2005.

It says that those sentenced to death have not received a fair trial and that there are consistent allegations of torture of prisoners.

Although not part of the state, terrorist organisation, the the Madhi Army has been involved in the torture and execution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iraqis and many other Iraqis, especially women, who do not conform to its harsh interpretation of Islam.

Last month, gay rights activist Peter Tatchell wrote on PinkNews.co.uk: “Queers are being shot dead in their homes, streets and workplaces. Even suspected gay children are being murdered. They killers claim to be doing these assassinations at the behest of the ‘democratic’ Iraqi government, in order to eradicate what they see as immoral, un-Islamic behaviour.”

Last month a gay man was deported from Britain to Iraq. The man claimed to be in danger because of his sexuality was denied an application for asylum because he had previously been prosecuted for seeking to stay in the UK illegally.