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Hardline Islamic insurgent groups in Iraq are targeting a new type of victim with the full protection of Iraqi law, The Observer can reveal. The country is seeing a sudden escalation of brutal attacks on what are being called the 'immorals' - homosexual men and children as young as 11 who have been forced into same-sex prostitution.
There is growing evidence that Shia militias have been killing men suspected of being gay and children who have been sold to criminal gangs to be sexually abused. The threat has led to a rapid increase in the numbers of Iraqi homosexuals now seeking asylum in the UK because it has become impossible for them to live safely in their own country.
Ali Hili runs the Iraqi LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) group out of London. He used to have 40 volunteers in Iraq but says after recent raids by militia in Najaf, Karbala and Basra he has lost contact with half of them. They move to different safe houses to protect their identities, but their work is incredibly dangerous.