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US Criticizes Iraq’s New Anti-Homosexuality Law

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The US State Department slammed a law passed by Iraq’s parliament on Saturday criminalizing same-sex relationships as a threat to human rights and freedoms.

The statement also warned that the law would weaken Iraq’s ability to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment.

“This amendment threatens those most at risk in Iraqi society. It can be used to hamper free-speech and expression and inhibit the operations of NGOs across Iraq,” a State Department statement said.

Iraq’s parliament passed a law on Saturday criminalizing same-sex relationships with a maximum 15-year prison sentence, saying the move aimed to uphold religious values. Rights advocates condemned the law as the latest attack on the LGBT community in Iraq.
Iran and other Islamic countries have also anti-homosexuality laws of various severity.
Same-sex activity between male adults is a crime in the Islamic Republic and is punishable by death if it occurs between consenting adults according to the country’s Sharia-based criminal code.

The sentence for female homosexuality between consenting adult women, however, is 100 lashes in the first three instances and a death sentence will be carried out if the offense is repeated for a fourth time.

Proof of homosexuality requires a confession by the offenders or the testimony of four “righteous men”.

Death sentence for homosexuality was rarely carried out, but four men were hanged in Maragheh in northwestern Iran in two separate cases in July and January 2022.