For immediate use
6 April 2010
Urgent appeal for Anwar
Iraqi LGBT is appealing for help from people in Paris, France or people with contacts in France for Anwar Basim Saleh.
Anwar is a 21-year old Iraqi gay activist from Baghdad who was the coordinator of a safe house for LGBT people for the Iraqi LGBT organisation.
He has been ordered to leave Holland, where he had applied for asylum and been detained, for France.
Anwar was arrested in February 2009 by members of the Iraqi Interior Ministry (Badr Corps) for his role in Iraqi LGBT. He was badly beaten up, tortured and he suffered a serious trauma after the long period of detention and the abuse he was subjected to.
He was put under investigation and interrogated over and over again about his role as an LGBT activist and his involvement in the running of the safe house.
During his detention he met five other members of Iraqi LGBT who have been sentenced to death for the same reason. During a visit to the jail by an Iraqi LGBT volunteer, Anwar handed over a letter with a desperate appeal: “save me from the death penalty".
Iraqi LGBT immediately paid the authorities 5,000 dollars in bail to obtain Anwar's release.
As soon as he was released from jail on 14 April 2009 Anwar immediately got on a plane to Paris fearing an unjust trial and being sentenced to death.
After a few months without any help from the French institutions, associations and authorities (while begging on the streets and living as a tramp), Anwar (who speaks no other languages than Arabic) left France, and on 22 June entered Dutch territory.
He approached the police authorities in Rotterdam of his own accord and, after telling them his story, they sent him to the local refugee office which gave him shelter at Terabil asylum centre on 24 June.
On 2 September 2009 Anwar was sent for by the Justice Ministry to discuss his asylum application and was informed that according to the EU's Dublin Regulation regarding asylum it is up to France to decide whether or not to grant him refugee status.
Anwar begged them to reconsider his application in the Netherlands (where he knew he had support) to avoid having to make yet another traumatic move and long wait before he learns his fate.
Anwar now has to go back to France.
Iraqi LGBT is appealing for support or housing in Paris, France for this brave and heroic man.
If you can help please call Iraqi LGBT on ++44 (0) 7981 9594 53 or email firstname.lastname@example.org