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Sudan drops flogging and death penalty from its law against gay sex

Sudan drops flogging and death penalty from its law against gay sex

  • New Sudanese Penal Code also criminalizes female genital mutilation.
Lt General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Sudan has dropped the death penalty and flogging as punishments for gay sex under its penal code.

Under the new law, homosexuality remains against the law. However, the punishment for ‘sodomy’ remains prison.

GSN believes the maximum sentences to be five years for the first ‘offense’, seven years for the second and life in jail for the third ‘offense’.

Previously the first two times someone was guilty of gay sex they would get 100 lashes and jail time. On the third time, they would get either a life sentence or the death penalty.

The country defines sodomy as ‘a man who inserts his penis or its equivalent into a woman’s or a man’s anus’ or ‘another man’ allowing a man ‘to insert his penis or its equivalent in his anus’.

The Sub-Saharan African countries ‘sodomy’ law is Artice 148 of the Penal Code. It is based on extremist Muslim Shari’a law.

Changes to Sudan’s Penal Code

GSN understands the law changed on 9 July but went largely unnoticed.

This is partly because Sudan’s Sovereign Council approved multiple changes to the Penal Code on that day.

In particular, they criminalized female genital mutilation and made it easier for women to travel with their children outside Sudan.

Meanwhile the country’s public order police will no longer be able to flog people in public.

Moreover, non-Muslims – which represent about 3% of Sudan’s population – will be able to drink, import and sell alcohol. However, reports indicate Sudan will still punish Muslims who drink alcohol.

But the few media reports on the changes focused on the Sovereign Council removing a law against ‘apostasy’. This punished those who abandoned the Muslim faith with death by stoning.

The country is currently under the rule of a transitional government, following a coup in 2019. This is led by Lt General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who signed the new legislation.

Repeated reports rank Sudan as one of the world’s worst places to be LGBT+.

GSN previously reported the case of nine allegedly gay men who the authorities arrested and beat. The raid took place at a private flat in the capital Khartoum.

In 2012, hactivists took down 73 official government websites in Sudan, in protest at the ‘sodomy’ law.

The death penalty remains for gay sex in practice or in theory in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iran, Mauritania, some states of Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.