Countries that criminalizes homosexuality with death penalty

March 1, 2024

Countries in which homosexuality can result in death penalty, according to an annual report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).  Countries around the world move to dismantle after the forbidden centuries-old laws banning gay sex. Bhutan becomes the latest nation to take steps to ease restrictions on same-sex relationships.

  • Yemen: Yemen follows Sharia law according to the 1994 penal code, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse, which is illegal. The law states that unmarried gay men will be punished with 100 whip lashes or one year in prison, but married gay men face death by stoning. Gay women to be imprisoned for up to three years.
  • Iran: In accordance with sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged. Homosexuality was made a crime punishable by the death penalty in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution.
  • Qatar: Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation. Victims may face the death penalty, based on the interpretation of Sharia, if they are engaging in extramarital sex, regardless of whether the affair is between men, women, or a man and a woman.
  • Saudi Arabia: Under the country’s interpretation of sharia law, a married man engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim who commits sodomy with a Muslim can be stoned to death.
  • Afghanistan: The Afghan Penal Code does not refer to homosexual acts, but Article 130 of the Constitution allows recourse to be made to sharia law, which prohibits same-sex sexual activity in general. Afghanistan’s sharia law criminalizes same-sex sexual acts with a maximum of the death penalty. Honour killings, where relatives kill the gay man or woman to restore the family's honour, are common. They can also be executed under local Sharia law. These laws are more likely to be enforced in Taliban, rural, and/or isolated communities.
  • Somalia: The penal code stipulates prison, but in some southern regions, Islamic courts have imposed sharia law and the death penalty. In 2012, a newly adopted provisional constitution made Somalia's interpretation of Sharia law "the supreme law of the country," making homosexuality a crime that can be punished by flogging or the death penalty.
  • Sudan: Three-time offenders under the sodomy law can be put to death; first and second convictions result in flogging and imprisonment. The punishment for a third conviction is death. Acts that are not sodomy but deemed indecent by authorities are punishable by 40 lashes and possible prison time for up to a year.
  • United Arab Emirates: Lawyers in the country and other experts disagree on whether federal law prescribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex or only for rape. In a recent Amnesty International report, the organization said it was not aware of any death sentences for homosexual acts. All sexual acts outside of marriage are banned. The Penal Code is not explicitly clear about homosexuality being a capital crime or not. The legal lingo can be interpreted as making all male homosexual intercourse a capital crime but it can also mean that it's only for forced male homosexual intercourse. Consensual homosexual relations are punishable in several ways, including hanging. There is no record to date of consensual homosexual acts being punished by anything but jail terms of differing lengths and fines.

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