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Iraq criminalises homosexuality and transgenderism with 15-year prison sentences – sex change doctors also face jail

Iraq has criminalised same-sex relationships, the promotion of homosexuality, undergoing or performing so-called sex changes, and the “intentional practice of effeminacy”.

Iraqi lawmakers originally sought the death penalty for LGBT crimes, but a draft bill was amended after opposition from the US and EU nations.

The Law on Combating Prostitution and Homosexuality, adopted on Saturday, mandates at least 10 years, and up to 15 years, in prison for homosexual relationships, seven years for promoting homosexuality or prostitution, and three years for being “transgender” or carrying out “sex change” medical procedures.

The law aims to “protect Iraqi society from moral depravity and the calls for homosexuality that have overtaken the world”, and acting Iraqi parliamentary speaker, Mohsen Al-Mandalawi said it was “a necessary step to protect the value structure of society” and protect children

On Sunday a group of Iraqi politicians called for US Ambassador Alina Romanowski to be expelled for interfering in the countries internal affairs, after she condemned the new legislation, AP News reported.

Baghdad resident Ahmed Mansour told AP he approved of the law “because it follows the texts of the Quran and the Islamic religion by completely prohibiting this subject due to religious taboos”.

Rasha Younes, deputy director of the LGBTQ rights programme at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters: “The Iraqi parliament’s passage of the anti-LGBT law rubber-stamps Iraq’s appalling record of rights violations against LGBTQ people and is a serious blow to fundamental human rights.”

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller made statement warning Iraq the legislation could affect foreign investment, and saying it “can be used to hamper free-speech and expression”.

Homosexual sex is illegal in 60 countries.

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