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Iraq’s New Law: Harsh Prison Sentences for Same-Sex Relations

New Law Enactment by Iraq Mentioned 10 to 15 Years of Jail time for LGBTQ+ Practices

The law recently passed in the Iraq parliament has been vehemently criticized by the diplomats and human rights groups. The law passed imposes severe penalties to the persons who identify themselves as transgender or gay. Passed during the weekend, this law is being condemned because of the forcible measures it has. The law talks of 10 to 15 years of imprisonment for same sex relations and one to three years of imprisonment to those who undergo gender transformation or engage in “intentional practice of effeminacyā€¯.

Same Sex - Gay Marriage

Former US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller mentioned that the law was of deep concern, as the law threatened vulnerable sections of Iraqi society and threatened to undermine free speech and expression. In fact, Miller further warned that such strict legislation would help turn away foreign investment, thus not helping the country’s economic prospects at all. Likewise, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron termed the law as “dangerous and worrying,” and also highlighted the fact that it would have a negative impact on human rights and societal freedoms.

The conservative society in Iraq has long held a taboo attitude toward homosexuality, but up to now, there was no explicit anti-homosexual law. Now, with the quiet appending of an amendment to Iraq’s existing anti-prostitution law, a considerable adjustment of legal policy has been made, punitizing LGBTQ+ individuals with severe punitive measures.

The law also bars any organization that campaigns for what it dubs as “sexual deviancy,” and its violators are jailed for at least seven years and slapped with a hefty fine of 10 million dinars. Even more astonishing is that an earlier version of the anti-prostitution law, which failed to be passed, had called for the death penalty for homosexuality.

The acting Iraqi parliamentary speaker, Mohsen Al-Mandalawi, defended the law, using the argument that it was a necessary safeguard for preserving values in society and protecting children from what he termed “calls for moral depravity and homosexuality”. Critics charge that not only does it violate fundamental human rights but perpetuates discrimination and marginalization against the LGBTQ+.

The law enactment clearly is a sign of underscoring of the LGBTQ+ rights struggle that has been going on in Iraq. This marginalized part of the society has been struggling for a really long time and now, according to the social experts, the law totally undermines their efforts. The regressive legislation is soon to attract more pressure from the International organizations as already there are rallies and supports taking place in support of the LGBTQ+ supporters in Iraq.


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