Police in Karbala last week raided a "safe house" used by gay, lesbian and transgender Iraqis, and took away the occupants.
On Tuesday 16 June, twelve police officers burst into the house, then violently beat up, and blindfolded the six occupants sheltering there, before bundling them off in three vans. According to a source who witnessed the raid, the police also confiscated computer equipment before burning down the house.
According to reports, one of the arrested people has turned up in hospital. Nothing is known about the whereabouts of the other five individuals, which include two gay men, one lesbian and two transgender people. It is feared they may have been taken to the Interior Ministry in Baghdad, where, it is reported, many gay people have been tortured and executed in the last two years.
Government forces have previously siezed people particularly at roadblocks and handed them to militias who have then tortured them and their bodies have later been found.
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 20 June 2010.