Iraq Considers Law with Possible Death Penalty for Homosexuality

A law is being discussed in the Iraqi parliament that would introduce the death penalty for homosexual acts. Although the hearing has been postponed due to disagreements over amendments, Western diplomats are concerned about the impact on relations with the country.
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The law was originally an anti-prostitution law, but an amendment in that law regulates that sex with the same gender becomes punishable. A convicted homosexual could therefore receive a lifelong prison sentence or the death penalty.

According to the Reuters news agency, consideration of the law was on the agenda last Monday, but it ultimately did not come up due to lack of time. There is also disagreement among parliamentarians about specific amendments.

Nevertheless, Reuters reports that Western diplomats are concerned about the law. An anonymous source told the news agency: "It will be very difficult to sell close cooperation with Iraq at home. We have been very, very direct: if the law is adopted in this way, it will have catastrophic consequences for our bilateral and trade relations."

Although homosexuality is not officially banned in Iraq, general acceptance is low. LGBT+ individuals frequently face discrimination and violence. In response to the recent Quran burnings in Scandinavian countries, rainbow flags have been burned regularly lately. Politicians use resistance to LGBT+ emancipation as a fertile subject to oppose the West. There are also known cases where armed militias abuse LGBT+ individuals.

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