Latest tally: Death for gay sex in 5 nations

Executions for gay sex occur in five countries  — by the government in Iran and Saudi Arabia and by uncontrolled militias in Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. That is this site’s best estimate of the extent of the most extreme form of anti-gay brutality imposed worldwide.

Six nations with large Muslim populations have laws that clearly provide the death penalty for gay sex — Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria (only in the Muslim-majority north), Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

But most of those governments don’t actually impose that death sentence.

However, executions by non-governmental militias are carried out in Iraq, Somalia and Yemen.

The following charts can help illuminate this complex situation. They are from an update on the current status of anti-gay laws published this month by ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.


Detailed, updated information about the situation in each country is available in the  Erasing 76 Crimes article “5 countries impose — or tolerate — death penalty for gay sex”.


The first chart below lists countries where “there is legal certainty” that the death penalty is an allowable punishment for consensual same-sex sexual acts.

By ILGA’s tally, six nations have laws providing the death penalty for consensual same-sex intimacy. Of those six, four have NOT carried out executions in recent years, but two of them — Iran and Saudi Arabia — may have, ILGA states.

The second chart lists five countries where “there is no full legal certainty” that the death penalty is an allowable punishment for consensual same-sex sexual acts. Of those five, four nations have NOT carried out such executions in recent years, while one of them — Somalia — may have, according to ILGA.

In addition to the 11 nations listed above, Erasing 76 Crimes adds Iraq, which tolerates executions by non-government militias.

For more information:

Wider context:

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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