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Iraq passes legislation criminalising homosexuality

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Iraq passes legislation criminalising homosexuality

Baghdad, April 28 (Ajit Weekly News/DPA) The Iraqi Parliament has passed a law criminalising same-sex relations and vowing tough penalties against them in a decision that rights advocates decried as discriminating against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The legislature on Saturday voted for an amendment to a 1988 anti-prostitution law, penalising homosexuality by 10 to 15 years in prison, and which bans promoting prostitution and same-sex relationships in “any way” in Iraq, making it punishable by at least seven years in jail.

An initial draft proposed the death penalty for same-sex relations, the Iraqi independent portal Alsumaria News reported.

The acting head of the Iraqi Parliament, Mohsen al-Mandalawi, defended the bill.

“It is an essential step to protect the value structure of society and a supreme interest to protect our children against calls of moral depravity and homosexuality,” he said in a press statement.

However, the legislation triggered an outcry and condemnations.

“Absolutely horrific developments in law for Iraq today (Saturday) as it codifies discrimination against the LGBT community,” said Raz Salayi, an Iraq researcher at the rights group Amnesty International.

The US, an ally of Iraq, said it was “deeply concerned” about the Iraqi move.

“This amendment threatens those most at risk in Iraqi society and weakens Iraq’a ability to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a post on X.

Previously, homosexuality was not explicitly criminalised in Iraq.

–Ajit Weekly News/DPA

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