Iraq criminalises same-sex relations and makes them punishable by up to 15 years in jail

Two men silhouetted, kissing in a field - posed by models
Posed by models (Image: By Alessandro Alle from Pixabay)

Iraq’s parliament has passed a new law making same-sex relations punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Being trans could be punishable by one to three years in jail, according to documents seen by AFP.

Meanwhile doctors who perform gender reassignment surgery in the Middle Eastern country will also face prison under amendments to an anti-prostitution law from 1988.

LGBTQ people in Iraq had previously been prosecuted under anti-sodomy laws and under vague legal clauses in Iraq’s criminal code.

The new law, which also criminalises wife-swapping and ‘promotion’of sex work, originally called for capital punishment for same-sex relations, but was amended after facing opposition overseas.

‘Promoting’ same-sex relations will also carry a minimum seven-year sentence.

UK Secretary of State Lord David Cameron has called the news “dangerous and worrying.”

Speaking on X, Cameron added: “We encourage the Government of Iraq to uphold human rights and freedoms of all people without distinction.”

“A significant step in combating sexual deviancy” – MP Amir al-Maamouri

Speaking to Shafaq News, MP Amir al-Maamouri called the law “a significant step in combating sexual deviancy given the infiltration of unique cases contradicting Islamic and societal values.”

Meanwhile lawmaker Raed al-Maliki confirmed to AFP that passing the bill had been postponed until after PM Mohamed Shia al-Sudani’s US visit earlier this month.

“We didn’t want to impact the visit,” he said, calling the law “an internal matter and we do not accept any interference in Iraqi affairs.”

Responding to the news in a statement, the US State Department said: “The legislation … weakens Iraq’s ability to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment.”

“International business coalitions have already indicated that such discrimination in Iraq will harm business and economic growth in the country,” the statement went on.

The post Iraq criminalises same-sex relations and makes them punishable by up to 15 years in jail appeared first on Attitude.