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BBC 5Live reports that gay life in Iraq is worse than under Saddam

PinkNews Staff Writer July 2, 2009
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The ability of gay people In Iraq to live relatively freely has been severely curtailed following the toppling of Saddam Hussein, a documentary to be aired on BBC Radio 5Live will report. Although apparently not revealing anything that has not already reported, the programme does inform the wider British public of the issue.
In Gay Life After Saddam, Aasmah Mir finds out how life for the country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community (LGBT), is actually got worse since the over throw of the dictator more than six years ago.

As has reported before, hundreds of LGBT people have been killed or tortured while others have fled the country fearing for their safety since Saddam was toppled from power six years ago.
Gay Iraqis have found it hard to gain the right to claim asylum in the UK.

Mir hears from campaigners and those who’ve been persecuted to see how life has actually changed for gay Iraqis.

Ahead of the broadcast, the programme’s producer Ashley Byrne said: “The programme includes an interview with a gay Iraqi who was kidnapped and raped before fleeing the country, we hear from a young man who fled to Paris after being tortured and we get exclusive access to a so-called ‘safe house’ harbouring vulnerable LGBT Iraqis on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Adding: “Some of the evidence is very difficult to comprehend especially a form of torture involving glue and diarrhoea inducing drugs.”

Mir also meets a London based Iraqi who’s life is under threat for the work he’s doing to help gay people in his homeland.  Ali Hilli  (a pseudonym) claims has had two fatwas issued against him from extremists in the Middle East.

Radio 5 live Commissioning Editor Jonathan Wall said : “This important programme raises issues about human rights and tells some stories seldom heard in the general narrative from Iraq. Its a moving and powerful documentary.”

The programme also includes interviews with the Iraqi Prime Minister, religious leaders and ordinary people on the streets of Baghdad where homosexuality is still viewed by many as an illness and something that needs treatment.

Related topics: Middle East

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