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Same-sex Couples Face Up to 15 Years in Prison in Iraq’s LGBTQ Crackdown

The punishments are less severe than those originally sought by Raad al-Maliki, the independent Iraqi lawmaker who introduced the bill in August 2023. He had sought to impose penalties of life imprisonment and death for same-sex relations.

Iraq has passed a new law that penalizes same-sex relations with up to 15 years in prison, a move condemned by rights advocates as the latest attack on the country’s LGBTQ community.

The Iraqi parliament on Saturday passed a bill amending a 1988 anti-prostitution law to cover acts including “promoting homosexuality” – now punishable with up to seven years in prison – and “biological sex changes based on personal desires and inclination.”

Transgender individuals and doctors who perform gender reassignment surgery face up to three years in prison under the new law, though it excludes cases of medical intervention to “treat birth defects to affirm the sex of the individual” following a court order.

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The punishments are less severe than those originally sought by Raad al-Maliki, the independent Iraqi lawmaker who introduced the bill in August 2023. He had sought to impose penalties of life imprisonment and death for same-sex relations.

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However, the vast majority of the 170 lawmakers who attended the parliamentary session Saturday – out of a total of 329 – were in favor of adopting the bill with the reduced sentences.

Mohsen Al-Mandalawi, the acting parliamentary speaker, said the new legislation was aimed at “protecting the moral fabric” of society.

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“There is no place for homosexuality in Iraq, the land of prophets, pure imams, and righteous saints,” Al-Mandalawi said in a statement on Saturday.

Sourcecnn news

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