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Iraqi freedom

I would imagine that it's hard enough to be gay in the U.S. But in Iraq, not only can you be killed for being gay, it's not even necessarily against the law - despite the Bush administration's "liberation" of the Iraqi people. And if you are a woman who cheats on her husband, you too can be murdered, and your killer protected by the law.
Since 2001, an amendment to the 1990 Penal Code has made homosexual behaviour between consenting adults a crime. In that year, the Revolutionary Command Council issued a decree making the offences of prostitution, homosexuality, incest and rape punishable by death, according to Amnesty International.

It is believed that the sudden introduction of the death penalty for these acts was tied to a desire by Saddam Hussein to win the support of Islamic conservatives.

The law has not been changed since the US-led invasion of the country.

Under Islamic law, the penalty for men engaging in anal sex is also death.


So-called "honour killing," the murder of a family member by a relative to protect the family's reputation, often occurs in Iraq when a man is believed to be gay, according to the Human Rights Ministry.

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.

Fifteen cases of honour killings have been reported in the past two years for crimes against homosexuals in the capital alone, according to a Baghdad-based lawyers' association.

Abu Qussay said he killed his son after discovering he was gay. He said he was now considered a hero by his friends.

"I hanged him in my house in front of his brother to give an example to all of them and prevent them from doing the same," Qussay said proudly.

After the father of two was arrested for the murder, he was charged with the killing and then released a month later when his lawyer explained why his client had committed the crime.

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