Iraq criminalizes same-sex relationships, punishes up to 15 years in prison | LGBTQ News

The law is primarily supported by Shiite Muslim parties, which form the largest coalition government in Iraq’s parliament.

Iraq’s parliament passed a law criminalizing homosexual relationships, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The move, which they said was aimed at defending religious values, was condemned by rights groups as the latest attack on Iraq’s LGBTQ community.

The law adopted on Saturday aims to “protect Iraqi society from calls for moral depravity and homosexuality that are sweeping the world,” according to a copy of the law seen by Reuters.

This was supported primarily by Shiite Muslim conservative parties, which form the largest coalition government in Iraq’s parliament.

The Anti-Prostitution and Homosexuality Act prohibits homosexual relationships and imposes a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 15 years in prison, and requires a minimum sentence of seven years in prison for those who promote homosexuality or prostitution.

The revised law criminalizes “biological sex change based on individual wishes or inclinations,” and punishes doctors who perform gender reassignment surgery with transgender people with up to three years in prison.

The bill originally included the death penalty for homosexual acts, but was amended before being passed after strong opposition from the United States and European countries.

“A serious blow to human rights”

Until Saturday, Iraq had not explicitly criminalized gay sex, but loosely defined morality clauses in the criminal code have been used to target LGBTQ people, and members of the community have also been harassed by armed groups and individuals. Being murdered.

“Iraqi’s parliament’s passage of an anti-LGBT law erases Iraq’s record of horrific rights violations against LGBTQ people and is a grave blow to fundamental human rights,” said Deputy Director of the LGBTQ Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. Rasha Younes said. Reuters.

AFP news agency quoted Razaw Salihi, Iraq researcher at Amnesty International, as saying, “Iraq has effectively codified into law the discrimination and violence that members of the LGBTI community have been subjected to for years with absolute impunity.” I did,” the report said.

“The LGBTI rights amendment is a violation of fundamental human rights and puts Iraqis, whose lives are already threatened every day, at risk,” Salihi added.

Lawmaker Raed al-Maliki, who pushed for the amendment, told AFP that the law “acts as a preventive measure to protect society from such acts.”

Iraq’s main political parties have stepped up their criticism of LGBTQ rights over the past year, and rainbow flags were frequently burned at protests last year by conservative Shiite Muslims from both the ruling and opposition parties.

According to Our World in Data, homosexual sex is a crime in more than 60 countries, while same-sex sex is legal in more than 130 countries.

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