14 nations have death penalty for gay sex; 5 carry it out

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 same-sex activity. (Photo courtesy of Iran Human Rights)

By Colin Stewart

Fourteen nations  with large Muslim populations have laws providing for the death penalty for same-sex activity or otherwise allow such executions.

Many fewer actually impose the death sentence — by this blog’s count, probably five of them.

Cover of 2017 edition of ILGA's "State-Sponsored Homophobia" report.

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

The 2017 edition of the ever-valuable State-Sponsored Homophobia report from ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, lists “eight (8) States where the death penalty is activated” and a further “five (5) States where [the law] permits the death penalty technically, but where it is not invoked to our knowledge.” In addition to those 13 locations, the ILGA report also discusses Brunei, where a death-penalty law has been approved but so far has not been incorporated into that nation’s legal proceedings.

This blog and the ILGA report agree that 14 is the total number of locations that have a law providing the death penalty for same-sex activity or otherwise allow such executions to occur.

Our list and the ILGA list only disagree about the number of places where those executions have occurred recently, because the facts are murky.

EXECUTIONS

Here is this blog’s best-information-available list of countries/regions where executions for homosexual activity 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 include executions for homosexual activity, although the facts are often unclear or misrepresented in such cases. (See, for example, “Bogus hanging in Iran, bogus tweets in Egypt” and “Series of public hangings in Iran, including 2 for sodomy.”)


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. Imprisonment and lashings are a more common punishment for same-sex activity.

Nation 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.

Not recognized as a nation; carries out executions:

5. Daesh/the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)

An ILGA report notes that “in the Daesh(ISIS/ISIL)-held areas the death penalty is implemented (although a non-State actor, it is listed in the report). ” For example: ‘Islamic State’ has reported 15 LGBTI executions (May 2015)

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

1. Sudan

Erasing 76 Crimes report: In Sudan, the death penalty is in frequent use, but there are no recent reports of executions for same-sex intimacy. In 2014, Sudan ranked at No. 6 worldwide in number of executions (23+) for various offenses, just below the United States, with 35, according to Amnesty International.

ILGA report: “2006. 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.No specific executions cited.

2. 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.”

 

Nations with such laws on the books in part of the country; no verified executions for homosexual activity

3. 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.

 

LAWS BUT NO EXECUTIONS

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

1. Afghanistan
2. Mauritania

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.

3. Pakistan
4. Qatar
5. United Arab Emirates (Some interpretations of existing law would provide for the death penalty; no executions have been reported.)
6. Brunei Darussalam This is the description of Brunei in ILGA’s 2017 report:

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah

“Since 2014, Brunei Darussalam has been phasing in its Syariah Penal Code Order (SPC Order 2013), despite learned critiques of its human rights deficits. The second and third phases of it were due to be in place in 2015 and 2016 (at which point the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual behaviour was due to apply – for both men and women).
To date, it appears that Brunei has not produced its procedural code, without which it cannot proceed to the second and third phases. It is also the case that the last execution by the State in Brunei was in 1957. However, Human Rights Watch warn that the current Sultan is particularly ardent.”

(Revised June 12, 2017)

For more information:

33 thoughts on “14 nations have death penalty for gay sex; 5 carry it out

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    • I wrote it. I added realized that WordPress “pages,” as opposed to “posts,” don’t automatically get a byline.

      I just added my byline to it, BTW.

      — Colin Stewart, editor/publisher of this blog

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      • 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.

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      • 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!

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  17. 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!

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  18. 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!

    Like

  19. @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”.

    Like

    • 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!

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  20. 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.

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