Iraq LGBT Laws

Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority modified Section 4 of the Penal Code providing that “No person will be discriminated against on the basis of sex, race, color, language, religion, political opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, or birth”, which modification clearly does not make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity [R1.1].

R1.1 The Coalition Provisional Authority: Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transition Period 08 MAR 04
HIV / Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In 2008, Iraq reportedly restricted short-term travel for individuals living with HIV [R1.1].

R1.1 Russian Activists Call for End to Restrictions on HIV+ Visitors 06 FEB 08
Immigration Equality: Congress to Bush: Repeal HIV Travel Ban 22 SEP 08
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In 2003, the Penal Code of 1969 was reinstated in Iraq, following the American invasion. This code does not prohibit same-sex relations. However, various reports have shown that self-proclaimed Sharia judges have sentenced people to death for committing homosexual acts and that militias frequently have kidnapped, threatened and killed LGBT people [L1.10], [R1.9].

On 26 October 2011, police were reported to have recently raided a gay party in Kalar, a small town in Kurdistan, in the north of Iraq, arresting 25 men, raising fears that a new wave of gay suppression might be under way [R1.8].

In February 2009, Iraqi LGBT said that more than 430 gay men have been murdered in Iraq since 2003 [R1.7].

In January 2008, the Iraqi government announced an amnesty for prisoners, except terrorists and homosexuals. Gays and lesbians may be safer in jail – they are routinely abducted by the Bagdad militias and never seen again [R1.6].

In June 2006, Iraqi police reportedly executed a 14 year old boy in Bagdad after the boy was accused of corrupting the community and creating a scandal because he had sex with men [R1.5].

In May 2006, pressure from European gay rights organizations resulted in Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani removing a fatwa from his Web site that called for the killing of homosexuals in the “worst, most severe way possible”. The fatwa was removed from Sistani’s website only. It has not been revoked and the hateful denunciation calling for the punishment of lesbians remains [R1.4].

In 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority modified sentences for rape and sexual assault in Penal Code Paragraph 393 providing for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. The penalty for the offense of indecent assault set forth in Penal Code Paragraph 396 was modified to provide a maximum punishment of fifteen years imprisonment [R1.3].

In 2003, Iraq reinstated the Penal Code of 1969 after the American invasion. The Penal Code does not prohibit sexual activities between consenting adults of the same sex. However, as the country was under war, and law enforcement was not functioning properly, death squads operate in the country, killing homosexuals [R1.2].

In 2001, the Revolutionary Command Council, issued a decree to provide the death penalty for the offences of prostitution, homosexuality, incest and rape [R1.1].

L1.10 UNHCR: The Penal Code PDF 370.10kb (Accessed 29 OCT 11)
R1.8 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 380.51kb, MAY 11
R1.8 GayCityNews: New Reports of Anti-Gay Crackdown in Kurdistan 26 OCT 11
R1.7 Gays who face persecution should be given asylum says EU 10 FEB 09
R1.6 bnews: Iran, Iraq Execute Gays 10 JAN 08
R1.5 3Sixty: Iraq Boy Executed JUN 06
R1.4 GayWired: Death Sentence for Gay Men Removed from Iraqi Web site 17 MAY 06
R1.3 The Coalition Provisional Authority: Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transition Period 08 MAR 04
R1.2 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF MAY 08
R1.1 Amnesty International: NOV 01