Posted: January 2, 2008 - 11:00 am ET
The Iraqi government has about 20,000 people in custody, while the
Homosexuality itself is not illegal in
The amnesty bill drafted by the Shiite-dominated government falls far short of Sunni demands. About the only thing on which the two sides agree is that imprisoned gays not be freed.
The amnesty would cover less than a quarter of the total number of people held in Iraqi prisons, and none of those held by the American military.
Sunni parliamentarians have criticized the bill for its limited scope. They have argued that most prisoners are charged with terrorist crimes, rendering it ineffective. Some also fear referring the bill to
The total number of gays being held is not known. And, they may be the lucky ones, according to some LGBT activists.
Death squads imposing strict Islamic law are reportedly responsible for the murders of hundreds of gay men across
Last year the leader of an exiled Iraqi LGBT rights group told a
Ali Hili said that the Badr and Sadr militias - the armed wings of the two main Shia parties that control the government of
Five members of Hili's own group were taken away in November of 2006. About a dozen members of Rainbow For Life, another Iraqi LGBT group also have been seized and are presumed dead.
Another 70 have been threatened with kidnapping Rainbow For Life has said.
In 2006 the