Iraq criminalizes same-sex relations: Homosexuals, transgenders will be jailed if...

A controversial new law in Iraq criminalizes same-sex relationships, sparking outrage from human rights groups and the international community.

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New Delhi: The Iraqi parliament passed the legislation on Saturday, introducing prison sentences for those engaging in same-sex relations. Offenders could face imprisonment for up to 15 years, a stark shift from the previous absence of specific laws against homosexuality.

Transgender community targeted

The legislation goes a step further by criminalizing aspects of transgender identity. Under amendments to the 1988 anti-prostitution law, expressing oneself as transgender can result in a three-year jail sentence.

Rejection of harsher proposal

While the final legislation drew criticism, it represents a moderation of an earlier draft proposal. This previous version reportedly advocated for the death penalty for same-sex relations, ultimately deemed too extreme.

Human rights concerns

The international community, including the United States and the European Union, has condemned the new law. Human rights advocates argue that it violates fundamental freedoms and further marginalizes an already vulnerable population. Gay and transgender individuals in Iraq already face widespread discrimination and violence.

Uncertain future for transgenders

This legislation underscores the complex social landscape in Iraq. The country grapples with balancing conservative societal norms with international pressure to uphold human rights. The impact of the law on LGBTQ individuals and the future of LGBTQ rights in Iraq remain uncertain.