Iraq Criminalises Homosexuality and Being Transgender with Prison Sentence

The Iraqi parliament has passed a law that criminalises homosexual relationships with a maximum prison sentence of fifteen years. Being transgender is also deemed punishable. A proposal to introduce the death penalty did not succeed.
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According to Iraqi parties, the law is intended to uphold "religious values" in the country and protect the population against "moral corruption." The law proposal states that the "call for homosexuality" has taken over the world, as reported by the Reuters news agency.

Despite criticism from Western allies, the law was mainly supported by conservative Muslim parties, which form the largest coalition in the Iraqi parliament.

Under the law, homosexuality will be punished with a minimum of ten and a maximum of fifteen years in prison. The law also mandates a prison sentence of at least seven years for anyone who "promotes" homosexuality.

The amended law also criminalises "biological gender change based on personal desires and inclinations" and penalises transgender individuals and doctors performing gender confirmation surgeries with up to three years in prison.

The initial proposal included the death penalty for homosexuality but was amended after strong opposition from the United States and European countries.

However, the current law also faces criticism. The US Department of State says the law threatens marginalised groups in Iraq and also constitutes a restriction of freedom of speech. The European Union has also expressed concerns about the law, stating that it contradicts the Iraqi constitution.

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