Iraq’s Parliament on Saturday approved amendments to the anti-prostitution law to include the criminalization of homosexual relations and transgender expressionswhich from now on will carry penalties of up to 15 years in prison.

The Legislature indicated that the amendments were approved “to preserve moral decency in Iraqi society from the calls for homosexuality that have invaded the world” and in the “absence of legislation in Iraq that dissuasively punishes homosexual acts and those who promote them,” according to a statement.

The interim president of the lower house, Mohsen al Mandalawi, said that the approval of the amendments It is “a necessary step to protect the value structure of society and of children, who are called to moral depravity and homosexuality,” according to another statement.

The amendments to the law against prostitution, in force since 1988, were approved in a session attended by 170 of the 329 deputies that make up the Iraqi Chamber.

From now on, the Iraqi law penalizes any consensual homosexual relationship with between 10 and 15 years in prison, while promoting relations between people of the same sex also carries a sentence of between one and three years in prison and a fine of 10 million Iraqi dinars (about 7,600 Dollars).

Anyone undergoing “sex reassignment” surgeryas well as the doctor who practices it, will face a sentence of one to three years in prison.

The law also provides punishments for any man who displays “effeminate behavior.”

“The approval by the Iraqi Parliament of the anti-LGBT law ratifies the terrible record of rights violations against LGBT people in Iraq,” said the acting co-director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Rasha Younes, on her X account.

The human rights defender denounced that this rule “adds insult to injury for Iraqi LGBT people, who already face cyclical violence and threats to their lives from armed groups.”mainly of a religious nature.

The bill for this amendment was presented in August 2023 by independent MP Raad al Maliki, and initially stipulated that homosexual relations would be punished with the death penalty or life imprisonment, while the “promotion of homosexuality” would mean a minimum of seven years in prison and a fine.

Although consensual same-sex sexual relations were not explicitly criminalized in Iraq, authorities have used vague “morality” laws to persecute members of the group.


Leave a Reply