6 nations have death penalty for gay sex; 4 carry it out

By Colin Stewart

Between six and 10 nations with large Muslim populations have laws providing for the death penalty for gay sex or otherwise allow such executions.

This photo accompanied the Iran Human Rights report on three men who were hanged in Shiraz on Aug. 3.
These three men, hanged in Iran in 2014, may have been convicted and executed for gay sex. (Photo courtesy of Iran Human Rights)

Many fewer countries actually impose the death sentence — by this blog’s best estimate, four of them.

Cover of 2017 edition of ILGA's
Cover of 2017 edition of ILGA’s “State-Sponsored Homophobia” report.

Six is the number of countries that definitely have laws providing the death penalty for gay sex or that otherwise allow such executions to occur. (Those nations are Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Somali, Yemen,  and part of Nigeria)

The list grows to 10 countries if nations are included where it’s theoretically possible to interpret the laws as allowing executions for gay sex. (Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and U.A.E.)

The death penalty for gay sex is no longer on the books in Afghanistan or in Sudan. And, because of military defeats, the Islamic State (ISIS) can no longer impose the death penalty by acting as harsh a de-facto government. Brunei adopted a version of sharia law that would have provided death by stoning for gay sex, but Brunei’s sultan, bowing to international pressure, declared a moratorium on executions.

EXECUTIONS

Here is this blog’s best-information-available list of countries/regions where executions for gay sex are carried out:

Nations with such laws on the books; executions have been carried out in the recent past:

1. Iran

Iran is No. 2 in the world for frequency of executions of any kind, behind China. Those may include executions for homosexual activity, although the facts are often unclear or misrepresented. (See, for example, “Bogus hanging in Iran, bogus tweets in Egypt” and “Series of public hangings in Iran, including 2 for sodomy.” When a man in Iran is hanged after being convicted of rape and sodomy, media coverage often wrongly describes the punishment as execution for homosexuality. )


2. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is No. 3 among the world’s most avid executioners, with 90+ in 2014. At least in the past, beheadings were imposed for homosexual behavior, including three men in 2002.  In 2019, media reports described a mass execution that reportedly included five men convicted of “homosexual acts” after they were coerced to confess. Imprisonment and lashings are a more common punishment for same-sex activity.

In a sense, Saudi Arabia has no anti-homosexuality law, but that’s only because it has no codified Penal Law at all. Instead it applies strict Islamic Sharia law in which “according to the Sura 7:80/81, sexual intercourse between men is outlawed,” ILGA reports.

Nations with no such law on the books; executions are carried out by militias and others:

3. Iraq

The ILGA report of 2015 noted that “Iraq, although [the death penalty is] not in the civil code, clearly has judges and militias throughout the country that issue the death sentence for same-sex sexual behaviours.” For example: Iraq has become a death trap for gay men (September 2012)

4. Somalia

Erasing 76 Crimes report: A gay teenager was reportedly stoned to death in 2013, but those reports have not been verified.

ILGA report: A 2016 account about the central and southern portions of the country, controlled by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab: “ ‘Al-Shabaab’s beliefs stem from a Salafi-Wahhabi strand of Sunni Islam (an ultra conservative movement within Sunni Islam). They enforce a strict interpretation of Shariah law. Shariah law explicitly forbids homosexuality — the punishment for those “found guilty” is at a judge’s discretion, and may be punished by death.’ Writing in 2014, the Somali artist and writer Diriye Osman, now resident in the UK, says to come out in Somalia one must be prepared for, ‘…physical abuse, ceaseless harassment, imprisonment or death.’ Osman’s own family threatened him with violence upon learning that he is gay. In early 2017, it is reported that al Shabaab … murdered two individuals on account of their sexual orientation.” Erasing 76 Crimes comment: Those two killings are described as murders, but they might better be labeled as executions, since they were done by the group in charge in that region.

EXECUTIONS? MAYBE

Here is this blog’s best-information-available list of countries/regions where executions for homosexual activity might or might not be carried out:

Nations with such laws on the books; no recent executions reported

6. Yemen

Erasing 76 Crimes report: Yemen is No. 7 in frequency of executions overall, but the death penalty apparently has not been imposed recently for homosexual activity. Researchers for Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board reported more than 10 years ago, “Information on whether such sentences have been carried out was not found.” More recently an article on Yemen’s gay community in The Tower magazine stated, “Traditionally, that death penalty is not enforced, but citizens have been imprisoned for their sexual orientation.”

ILGA report: “2001. Although Article 58 of the Constitution asserts the rights on citizens to form associations, the criminal law confers the death penalty for male and female ‘homosexuality’ and life for sexual and gender minorities is extremely challenging.” No specific executions cited. Also, “The situation in Yemen has become progressively worse for sexual and gender minorities since the takeover of much of the country by the Houthi militia in 2013. An article from August 2015 goes into some detail on the environment for LGBT.” That article is from Erasing 76 Crimes: “Four murders of gay men in Yemen.”

Nation with such a law on the books in part of the country; no verified executions for homosexual activity

7. Nigeria

Erasing 76 Crimes report: The BBC reported in 2007, “More than a dozen Nigerian Muslims have been sentenced to death by stoning and for sexual offences ranging from adultery and homosexuality. But none of these death sentences has actually been carried out as they were either thrown out on appeal or commuted to prison terms as a result of pressure from human rights groups.”

ILGA report: “Several Northern Nigerian states have adopted Islamic Sharia laws, criminalising sexual activities between persons of the same sex. The maximum penalty for such acts between men is death penalty, while the maximum penalty for such acts between women is a whipping and/or imprisonment.” No specific executions cited.

NO EXECUTIONS; HARSH SHARIA PENALTY NOT IN EFFECT

Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, U.A.E. and Brunei

The ILGA report of 2017 summarizes: “it would be valid to say that the death penalty is ‘allowed’, or evidence of its existence, occurs [because of] its potential application by Shari’a courts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Mauritania, … [but] these States have less severe penalties encoded in their penal laws, and there appears to be no data to suggest the death penalty has been implemented in those States for consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults and in private.”

A U.S. Department of State cable from 2009, released by WikiLeaks in 2011, indicated that Mauritania has never imposed the death penalty for homosexual activity or any other crime.

In April 2019, Brunei adopted a version of sharia law that provides for death by stoning for consensual same-sex sexual activity for both men and women. But in May 2019, under international pressure, the Sultan of Brunei announced that a common-law moratorium on executions would be extended to cover that sharia law.

NO LONGER ON THE LIST

Afghanistan

The ILGA report of 2019 states: “A new Penal Code came into force on 14 February 2018. … it explicitly criminalises same-sex sexual conduct though the punishment [previously, the death penalty] has been reduced. .. all sexual contact outside marriage was punishable with a
maximum of the death penalty and a high-profile Islamic scholar [had] claimed that ‘there was broad consensus amongst scholars that execution was the appropriate punishment if homosexual acts could be proven’.”

Sudan

In July 2020, Sudan dropped the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality. At the time, there had been no recent reports of executions for same-sex intimacy. But back in 2006, ILGA reported, “Sudan applies the death sentence for some consensual same-sex sexual activity, and as such, it is virtually impossible for any SOGI-based group to even consider registering as a NGO.” 

ISIS

This article was revised Feb. 13, 2019, to remove Daesh/the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL from the list. At its height, ISIS repeatedly executed men accused of homosexuality. For example, from 2015: ‘Islamic State’ has reported 15 LGBTI executions. After years of armed struggle, ISIS remains an international pariah, but no longer deserves to be considered a de facto nation.

For more information:

41 Responses

  1. Silence Dogood Redux
    Silence Dogood Redux at |

    Most of the countries that have harsh penalties for homosexuals are Islamic. Why do many homosexuals in first world countries criticize minor laws in the West while seeming to side with Muslims as both being persecuted?

    Reply
  2. Lauren Ellis
    Lauren Ellis at |

    Who wrote this article? Using this for a paper and I need to cite it. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Michael Kelly
      Michael Kelly at |

      This is very common knowledge that needs not to be cited just like saying Hitler had anti Jewish laws, John Booth shot Lincoln let alone Saudi Arabia is not getting along with Iran

      Reply
  3. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson at |

    I’d love to see the death penalty for faggots here in the USA.

    Reply
    1. Jani Bani
      Jani Bani at |

      Fortunately IDIOTS like you have no say in the normal society.

      Reply
      1. Matthew
        Matthew at |

        Only gays are normal and Judaism is the only non-blasphemous religion. The Jewish God is God and if He had wanted men and women to be together, then He would have made us the same.

        And the Bible gives gays permission to bash bigots like you to death:

        “And a man who injures his countryman – as he has done, so it shall be done to him [namely,] fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he has injured a person, so it shall be done to him.” (Lev. 24:19–21)

        Reply
        1. Myomi
          Myomi at |

          No rebel gays have that permission.
          “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Gen. 9:6)

          IN HIS OWN IMAGE. See the bigger picture? No homos are representing God’s image.

          Reply
    2. Kirsten Skinner
      Kirsten Skinner at |

      you’re sick….

      Reply
      1. Ffokcuf
        Ffokcuf at |

        For all those against the death penalty for fags, I suggest that they open up their Bible to Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, and Romans 1:26-27. God very clearly states what should be done to Sodomites in those 3 passages.

        Reply
        1. Matthew
          Matthew at |

          “And a man who injures his countryman – as he has done, so it shall be done to him [namely,] fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he has injured a person, so it shall be done to him.” (Lev. 24:19–21)

          Tl;dr: Die, breeder, die!

          Reply
        2. Mermaid Blues
          Mermaid Blues at |

          Leviticus 19:19 19 “‘Keep my decrees.
          “‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.
          “‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
          “‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

          Are you wearing a blended fabric, such as polycotton? HYPOCRITE! We might just get one of the blokes to lift your shirt and check.

          Reply
        3. journeyfog
          journeyfog at |

          Fortunately, in North America we do not use mythology to establish law. So that quaint book of mythologies called the Bible is not relevant as to what should and should not be law in the U.S or elsewhere. Nor is any other religious text. People who want to govern their own lives by mythology are free to do so. But keep your mythologies out of other peoples’ lives.

          Reply
          1. Myomi
            Myomi at |

            Let me guess… You and your ancestors were manufactured from North America’s state of the art facilities. And there you are – fresh from the oven. For the likes of you, I would think you really made it through the evolution of man and stopped midway -and that’s completely understandable if you don’t read the Bible.

        4. Swenz
          Swenz at |

          “God very clearly states” … who cares. God is an oppressor. If Satan hadn’t given us freedom of choice you wouldn’t even be able to be trolling on the internet because humankind would still be God’s spineless puppets.

          Reply
      2. Ffokcuf
        Ffokcuf at |

        For extra reading pleasure, read Deuteronomy 22:5. Have a nice day! 😃

        Reply
        1. Matthew
          Matthew at |

          “And a man who injures his countryman – as he has done, so it shall be done to him [namely,] fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he has injured a person, so it shall be done to him.” (Lev. 24:19–21)

          Reply
      3. Ffokcuf
        Ffokcuf at |

        Don’t even try to say that faggotry is genetic! Saying such a thing is akin to saying that there’s a rape gene, a murder gene, a theft gene, a child molesting gene, ad nauseum! Let’s unlock all the jail doors and let all the inmates out! They’re all suffering from a bad gene!

        Reply
        1. Matthew
          Matthew at |

          “And a man who injures his countryman – as he has done, so it shall be done to him [namely,] fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he has injured a person, so it shall be done to him.” (Lev. 24:19–21)

          Reply
  4. thepurplequeenblog
    thepurplequeenblog at |

    Good for all of u countries who are against gay and lesbian lifestyles thank God for that after all it is a sin against God!- he hates all sin and whats an abomination!- its perverted!- nasty!! And disgusting! He is against it and wants his people to be against it too! Deal with it! Whether u like it or not its still wrong!!!! Tead why God hates this kind of behavior! In genesis 19!!! If u still support it that makes u gay too and corrupt like them!!! Beware! Jesus said to – go! And sin no more!- lest worse thing happens to u! In john chapter5:14!!!luke 13:3-5! Repent!- or u will perish! Its up to u!to be lost- or saved!- and being gay is being lost! U will not go to heaven like that! Matthew 5:20! Peace!

    Reply
    1. Matthew
      Matthew at |

      The Bible gives gays permission to lynch your homophobic ass:

      “And a man who injures his countryman – as he has done, so it shall be done to him [namely,] fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he has injured a person, so it shall be done to him.” (Lev. 24:19–21)

      Reply
      1. Myomi
        Myomi at |

        In the New Testament, the Lex Talionis is no longer necessary. Christ’s death on the cross ended the requirement for blood recompense and blood sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God. His death made it unnecessary to execute murderers to maintain human dignity and value because the crucifixion forever established human value. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

        Reply
    2. God's Son
      God's Son at |

      I’m a Bible believing person who loves God not stupid silly satan. When God returns he’ll will destroy all gays and lesbians for following satan and not adhering to God’s law. Hallelujah! In the meanwhile we will just have to pray they change or avoid them until Jesus returns.

      Reply
  5. thepurplequeenblog
    thepurplequeenblog at |

    Is being a pervert or rapist or a child molester ok?!- no!- neither is being a homo!- or lesbian- or transvestite! Theyre all in the same category!- there is nothing right about it at all! Its a wicked an evil thing to do! Remember that! God said so i believe it! And all who are gay are worthy of death!- God said that too! If u disagree u are going against God! Thats a sin too!- of disobedience!im so proud to be- anti gay!!! Thats doing whats right!i dont care if u-dont agree! Thats the truth!

    Reply
  6. thepurplequeenblog
    thepurplequeenblog at |

    Read all about it the truth from the word of God!- against this corruption in leviticus chapter 18-20!deuteronomy chapter 22:5! God said about crossdressing its an abomination! Wake up world!

    Reply
    1. Matthew
      Matthew at |

      “And a man who injures his countryman – as he has done, so it shall be done to him [namely,] fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he has injured a person, so it shall be done to him.” (Lev. 24:19–21)

      https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-33/why-christians-supported-slavery.html

      Reply
    2. Mermaid Blues
      Mermaid Blues at |

      Leviticus 19:19 19 “‘Keep my decrees.
      “‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.
      “‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
      “‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

      Oh dear, not wearing a blended fabric are we, honey? I might just lift your skirt up and check.

      Reply
  7. billybob2003
    billybob2003 at |

    @Ffokcuf
    Your user name is evidence of your intelligence and maturity. Your comments deserve the attention that they merit.

    Reply
  8. billybob2003
    billybob2003 at |

    @thepurplequeenblog
    You’re talking about murder in the name of your fantasy god. You can get off the moral bandwagon. You can’t even spell which is typical. You should spend your time improving yourself instead of bringing others down in your selfish sickness. I wish we had laws against you people in my country with state-sponsored murder as a “solution”.

    Reply
    1. thepurplequeenblog
      thepurplequeenblog at |

      Whoever dont like me preaching the word of God thats the truth!- i dont care! Too bad for u!- not me!- so for those who dont like it U are lost and ignorant!- so sad!- but for those who like it!- God bless u! And the more u gay losers hate me!- the more God blesses me! For doing whats right!- unlike u!- deal with that!- im proud to be anti gay!- just like him!- by the way if u support gays u are sinning against God too!- and God will punish u for that! And ill still be blessed!- not u!- bye!

      Reply
      1. John
        John at |

        God is love, you preach hate. Satan is the father of hate. You need to figure out who you really serve.

        Reply
        1. Matthew
          Matthew at |

          Goyism is Satanism. Only the Jewish God is God. God hates goyim. God hates crackers. God hates breeders.

          Reply
      2. Matthew
        Matthew at |

        That same buy-bull you thump preaches white supremacy:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham

        Reply
      3. chanmac
        chanmac at |

        Funny… there was a time you could take all your saying and replace it with blacks..
        This idiots that keep the hate train going..

        Reply
      4. Domingo A. Torres
        Domingo A. Torres at |

        People are always quoting the Bible on these issues. However there are people who do not believe in the Bible. So why do you impose your religious beliefs upon others who do not subscribe to such believes. Jesus came into the world to teach the love of God to the world and such things as the murdering of innocent human beings, because of their sexual orientation is against God’s love and plain out murder, period. The gay love of Jonathan and David Son of Jesse 1 Samuel 18.1-4

        Reply
  9. terrance a drayson
    terrance a drayson at |

    Just look at the barbaric countries who hate Gays — and look at the countries who embrace Gay– I know where I want to live– If the Gay hater wants to alien with Stalin – Nazis – Pol Pot – and other hideous vile beasts, then he is to be pitied indeed: Let all liberated good folk vote YES in Australia for Gay-marriage: And join the 45 countries who embrace freedom to love who one wishes to love.

    Reply
  10. Amram
    Amram at |

    I am jew I appreciate this act muslims countries

    Reply
  11. Rohan Haksar
    Rohan Haksar at |

    I am on the opposing side in that I am against homosexuality HOWEVER I am impressed with elements in your article because they were true. Your comments about Iran were impressive as I was angry about the gross misrepresentation of Iran . I recall the Amnesty debacle where they claimed Iran had executed a gay couple who were only teenagers to predictable outrage from the western countries. Then it transpired that they had homosexually raped and murdered an innocent child. To say I was surprised and impressed to see an admission of this type of error in a pro-homosexual article was an understatement. BUT the reason that I am on the opposing side is that the argument by design is a powerful argument both for the existence of God and the incorrectness of homosexuality. The reason that sex is pleasurable (i.e. the why of it) is to incentivise reproduction. The how of it is that there are nerve endings on the penis and clitoris that when stimulated produce pleasure. When we go too deeply into the Hows without considering the Why’s we can see how homosexuals/lesbians can have pleasure but don’t use the same level of analysis on the why questions which would lead us to realize it is wrong, It is further complicated by carnal desire (lust) – of course adultery etc are also wrong and thus we must not overstep the bounds and stay within what God commands. Regarding the death penalty for it in the Quran it is not there although according to Sharia (My understanding) is that it is only applied where the homosexuality is witnessed by 4 people so in practice this would only happen in a public gay orgy (which I’d hope you’d agree is undesirable) or where there is an accusation of child molestation or murder. Virtually no one on the pro -homosexual side raises these issues so I am impressed when they do. That doesn’t however detract from my opposition to homosexual marriage because the child is deprived (intentionally) of at least one of his/her natural parents which simply is not fair. Nor is it fair that primary age children should be taught about families with 2 mums / 2 dads etc because it is actually a state -sponsored lie of convenience since in reality every child is produced by a Mum and a Dad and regardless this brainwashing of primary aged children is both immoral and inappropriate, I really hope that the British and others see sense and realize their brainwashing of their own children is just plain wrong

    Reply
  12. Aaron
    Aaron at |

    IM Jewish and gay. This is both our country so don’t be such a fascist pig. There is no reason one of us should have to leave and you stay. Why don’t you. Are everyone you don’t like go away little baby?

    Reply
  13. Adam
    Adam at |

    You disgust me. They’re talking about hanging and stoning gay people and you’re all for it. Grow up. Xtians took the Jewish religion and perverted it. Y’all worship three gods and an idol, beat up on gay people instead of judging others favorably… on and On w the perversion of our faith oh and by the waythey’d kill you too in Iran

    Reply

Leave a Reply