The 5 countries and two territories where they punish homosexual relationships with the death penalty

The 5 countries and two territories where they punish homosexual relationships with the death penalty


On Thursday, the Supreme Court of India repealed a rule that criminalized same-sex relationships.

“Criminalizing sexual relations is irrational, arbitrary and manifestly unconstitutional.”

With these words, read by the head of the Supreme Court Dipak Misra, was announced on Thursday the repeal of a rule enacted in 1861 that criminalized homosexual relations in one of the most populated countries in the world, India.

In this way, then, the way was opened for millions of Indians to express their sexuality without being considered criminals.

“Historic decision. I feel very proud so today . Decriminalize homosexuality is a huge support for humanity and equal rights. The country has oxygen again,” he wrote in his Twitter account film director Karan Johar.

However, despite the momentous leap, at least 71 countries on the planet continue to criminalize same-sex relationships.

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Image caption Even in 71 countries it is a crime to be homosexual.


And of them, in five States and territories of two countries the death penalty is still applied to homosexual relations .

“This must change, none of these LGBT people choose to participate in these geopolitical discussions at the end of the day, we are simply human beings who are born with the same rights as any other human being,” said André Du Plessis, executive director of the International Association of Gays and Lesbians, (ILGA, for its acronym in English).


In BBC we show you the countries and the cases where the death penalty is applied to same-sex relationships.

1. Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, there is no codified criminal law, but Islamic law applies s ar í a.

According to the document “State Homophobia” published by ILGA in 2017, although sexual relations between men are considered a “minor offense” in the country, extramarital affairs are punished with the maximum penalty.

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Image caption In some Arab countries, homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty.


The punishment for a married man or woman who is found guilty of the crime of adultery is stoning.

Marriage between people of the same sex is not allowed in the country.

According to ILGA, Saudi Arabia does not know of the existence of LGBT groups or organizations.

2. Iran

The Iranian Islamic Penal Code provides for the death penalty for the crime of sodomy.

According to article 233 of chapter 2, “The livat (sodomy) will be punished with the death penalty for the passive (receptive) part”.

While “100 lashes” will be punished to the active party if it is not married or if it has not been done by force . Otherwise, it must also be executed.

The Penal Code includes some mitigating factors, such as the age of those involved and their personal situation.

In most cases, the final decision is made by the judge s ar í a.

According to ILGA, several international organizations have expressed their concern that there is a possibility that the men convicted of this crime were subject to the death penalty.

3. Sudan

The Criminal Code published in 1991 establishes the crime of sodomy.

Sexual orientation
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Image caption In countries of Africa such as Sudan or in some areas of Nigeria and Somalia one can not talk openly about non-heterosexual orientation.


Although if someone is found guilty of this crime for the first time, he will be punished with a penalty of 100 lashes.

However, the code states that if a person recurs for the third time he may be punished with the death penalty.

So far, the government of Sudan has only “taken note” of the recommendations of two countries (Honduras and Chile) to change their policies towards the LGBT population.

4. Yemen

The penal code, published in 1994, establishes various penalties for homosexual relationships between men and women.

Article 264 states that “married men who are found guilty of the crime of homosexuality shall be punished by death by stoning.”

For women, the sentences are more “lax”: from 3 to 4 years in prison “for any premeditated act of homosexuality”.

5. Mauritania

A special case is Mauritania, located in North Africa.

Article 308 of the Penal Code establishes the death penalty “by stoning” any man who ” commits indecent or unnatural acts ” to a person of his sex.

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Image caption South Africa has one of the most open legislations of the African continent regarding LGBT rights.


However, both a United Nations commission and a US Department of State commission. They pointed out that in the last five years there have been no acts of discrimination, prosecution or mistreatment towards the LGBT population.

In addition, ILGA clarified, the government of Mauritania, despite not repealing the law, called for a visit to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and highlighted ” the cooperation of all government actors in the development of a plan for action against racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance , and in the elaboration of a national strategy to promote social cohesion “.

6. Nigeria and Somalia

In the case of these two countries, what happens is that the death penalty only applies in part of the territory controlled by radical Islamist groups (Boko Haram and Al Shabab) which applies a strict application of the sharia.

In these controlled areas, same-sex relationships are punishable by death.

However, in the rest of the territory, homosexual relations are also persecuted and punished – albeit with minor penalties.

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Rava Desk

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