General News

Sudan remove death penalty & flogging for same-sex relations

July 17, 2020

Several legal reforms have been passed by the Sovereign Council of Sudan, including the banning of female genital mutilation, removal of an apostasy law which punished abandonment of Islam with death by stoning, banning public flogging, and an amendment to article 148 of the Penal Code, which banned same-sex relations and prescribed the death sentence. Following the reforms, same-sex relations remain criminalised and punishable by imprisonment of up to seven years, but application of the death penalty and flogging have been removed.

Sudan was one of a handful of countries which explicitly prescribed the death penalty for same-sex relations, the others being Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Yemen. The death penalty is also possible in the UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Nigeria and Brunei under sharia laws.

Maria Sjödin, Deputy Executive Director of OutRight Action International, said: ‘The removal of the death penalty for same-sex intimacy in Sudan among other important reforms, such as the banning of female genital mutilation and stoning for apostasy, is an important step for the human rights of LGBTQ+ people, and human rights in Sudan overall.

“It is astonishing that over a third of the world’s countries continue to criminalise same-sex love, and even more staggering that a handful prescribe the death penalty for consensual same-sex intimacy. It is encouraging that as of now, that number has been reduced by one. We can only hope that decriminalisation of same-sex love will follow.

Sixty-seven countries continue to criminalize same-sex relations across the world. Earlier this month the Senate of Gabon voted to reverse criminalisation of same-sex relations which had been introduced 2019. In May 2019 the High Court in Kenya decided to maintain a colonial era ban on same-sex relations. A colonial-era ban was overturned in the High Court in Botswana in June 2019, but the government is appealing this decision. In March 2020 the High Court in Singapore dismissed challenges to its ban on same-sex relations.