Threat-related crimes have been on the rise since 2003, along with the violence and armed conflict in Iraq, and it is considered a crime of multiple means and methods, which include death threats, threats of scandal, threats over the phone or on social media, and blackmail.


The threat in the Iraqi Law means the act of verbal or physical intimidation of a person to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something that had been done or not done. A person under threat may respond to the assailant's request due to the fear of these threats.


There are two elements of the threat crime: (1) the material element (for example, damaging property or finances or physically injuring the person or inflicting pain) and (2) the moral element (for example, if a person threatens another person to frighten him/her of the outcome or consequences of the assailant’s requests not being met).

Extortion crimes, such as asking for money in exchange for a specific demand, have also increased during the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and now constitute 35%  of the crimes compared to other criminal actions.

This article will present the definition and the punishment for this crime according to the Iraqi Penal Code No. 111 of 1969.


What are the penalties for threat crimes in Iraqi law?

The penalty will depend on each type of threat under a specific circumstance. In the Iraqi Law, there are three types of penalties for threat, as follows:

  1. When a person threatens another person (the victim) to:
  • Kill or harm the victim or his\her family.
  • Falsely accuse the person of a crime or act that is socially unacceptable.
  • Publish private information or pictures (on social media or disseminate it among other people).

to force the victim to commit or abstain from committing an action (such as waiving his\her right, if it was as a testimony in court, or waiving money, property, or any other rights owned by a person).

According to Iraqi law, this crime is punishable with up to seven years imprisonment.
(according to Article (430) of the Iraqi Penal Code No. 111 of 1969, the first paragraph)

  1. Anonymous threat - if the threat is in the form of communication sent without the name of the sender, or the communication is sent through a secret group, and it contains a text that compels the victim to do or refrain from doing something or asks him\her to do/not does something without mentioning the identity of the person who committed the crime.

(For example, if a person receives a letter anonymously asking them to leave the country or else he\she would be harmed). This crime is punishable with up to seven years imprisonment.

(according to Article (430) of the Iraqi Penal Code No. 111 of 1969, the second paragraph)

  1. If the threat is sent only for blackmailing or entertainment purposes, and contain no specific requirement; (for example, when a person threatens another person (the victim) with harm to him\her or his\her money or one of his\her family member, or with publishing information that may compromise his or her reputation, such as slander and insult on social media sites). This crime is punishable with up to seven years imprisonment.

(according to Article (431) of the Iraqi Penal Code No. 111 of 1969)




Is blackmailing considered a type of threat?

 Yes, blackmail is a type of threat and is considered a crime in Iraqi Law. In-person or electronic blackmail (for example sending threat messages and/or calling through social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.) constitutes the crime of threatening to reveal certain sensitive or compromising information about a person or committing an act with the intent to damage the reputation of a person if he\she does not fulfill the offender's requests. This information is usually sensitive or socially compromising and is more frequently used on social media.

Blackmailing is punishable by imprisonment (3 to 5 years), a fine (5 million to 10 million Iraqi Dinar), or both.


Is there a penalty for threatening speech or gestures?

 Yes, if a person threatens another person (the victim) by word, deed, in writing or verbally, or through an intermediary person in cases other than those indicated in Articles 430 and 431, the offender will be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding one-year and\or with a fine not more than 100 thousand Iraqi Dinar.

(according to Article (432) of the Iraqi Penal Code No. 111 of 1969)


How do I know when a threat is not serious?

It is safe to assume that all threats are serious. The Iraqi Penal Code - Law No. 111 of 1969 has made the threat a punishable crime because of its effect on the victim’s psychological state and their freedom.

It does not matter whether the offender intends to carry out the threat. A threat is a crime even if it is verbal, for example:

  1. Brandishing firearms
  2. Written threats
  3. Brandishing a sword, a dagger, or a pistol
  4. Sending an image or symbol of a knife or a stabbed or dead person
  5. Drawing a skull and bones on the door or walls of the victim.

If any such acts as listed above are perpetrated against a person, it is safe to assume that it is serious.




How do I report threats and extortion?

Threats, including electronic extortion, can be reported by:

  • Report it to the judicial investigator, who can be reached in court or through a lawyer.
  • Report it to an investigation officer to take note of your statement at a nearby police station.
  • While filing a complaint at the police station, it is recommended to share any evidence of the threat with the police to facilitate speedy investigation and response (for example, a video that shows the person who threatens or a mobile message that documents the threat, or witness information).
  • The police officer will take the necessary measures in line with the instructions of the Ministry of the Interior about exposure to threats and extortion.
  • The Directorate of Crime Prevention will conduct the necessary investigations, and precautionary measures will be provided if the person is at risk.
  • It is also possible to report electronic blackmail or threats anonymously through two telephone numbers assigned by the Cybercrime Directorate at the National Security Agency, 131 or 533.


Whom can I contact if I need additional information? 


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