Same-sex intimacy was only outlawed by the Baathist regime in 2001, but penalties are still on the books–as are exemptions for perpetrators of violence against gays in “honor killings“:
Article 111 of the Iraqi Penal Code exempts from prosecution and punishment men who kill other men or female relatives in defence of their family’s honour.
“He who discovers his wife, one of his female relatives committing adultery or a male relative engaged in sodomy and kills, wounds or injures one of them, is exempted from any penalty,” the law states.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the situation for gays and lesbians in Iraq has deteriorated. Ridiculed under Hussein, many now find themselves the targets of violence, according to humanitarian officials…
A U.N. report on human rights in Iraq reinforces the accusations of violence. Although gays are supposed to be protected by law in Iraq, it says, they face extreme brutality.
“Armed Islamic groups and militias have been known to be particularly hostile toward homosexuals, frequently and openly engaging in violent campaigns against them,” the report said, adding that homosexuals have been murdered.
“Militias are reportedly threatening families of men believed to be homosexual, stating that they will begin killing family members unless the men are handed over or killed by the family,” it said…
The report was issued at the end of 2006 and is the last U.N. study to touch on the subject…
One [Iraqi] man said he considers gays no different from “criminals and terrorists.” Another claimed that homosexuality was “illegal under Islamic law, and [gays] should be punished by law like criminals…”
“Gay men and lesbians in Iraq face a lot of risks right now, because homosexuality is sometimes interpreted by people in Iraq as being a Western import,” said Scott Portman with the Heartland Alliance, a group that promotes human rights worldwide. “So they can sometimes be targeted by insurgent groups or militias, in part, because of animosity toward the West and, in part, because homosexuality is not well-accepted in Iraqi society.”
Portman’s comment brought to mind a piece of grafitti discovered in Baghdad shortly after the initial US invasion:
Marriage of the same sex became legal in America. Is this, with the mafia and drugs, what you want to bring to Iraq, Americans? Is this the freedom you promised?
Filed under: heterosexism, international, International: Middle East, religion, violence | 1 Comment »