United States: LA City Council Condemns the Persecution of LGBT People in Iraq

On May 13, 2009, IGLHRC’s Communications Coordinator and Middle East Specialist Hossein Alizadeh and IGLHRC Board Co-Chair Ally Bolour appeared before the Los Angeles City Council to give testimony about human rights abuses affecting LGBT Iraqis. Alizadeh and Bolour spoke in support of a resolution, sponsored by council member Bill Rosendahl, calling upon the government of Iraq “to prevent the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and protect the right to life and the right of all its citizens to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

Alizadeh read a letter from an Iraqi student who described being terrified for his life, existing in constant fear of people finding out his sexual orientation and the persecution that could easily follow. Noting that it is too dangerous to express his emotions, the student described his life as “like being tortured from the inside.”

Bolour described the human rights abuses confronting Iraqi LGBT people, which currently include instances of gay men being tortured by having their anuses sealed with superglue and then given laxatives, as “unconscionable.”

After an emotional debate, the resolution passed unanimously by a 12-0 vote. To watch Alizadeh’s presentation to the Los Angeles City Council or to read the Iraqi student’s letter, click on the attachments at the right. View an abbreviated video of the council session below.