Death penalty for homosexuality

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The death penalty for homosexuality has historically been implemented by a number of countries worldwide. It currently still exists in a fairly small number of countries or parts of countries, most of which recognise Sharia as a legitimate form of law. Even though the law may allow the death penalty it does not mean that it is carried out.

Conversely de facto death penalties may apply, for example the Washington Post said that in Iraq "The penal code does not expressly prohibit homosexual acts, but people have been killed by militias and sentenced to death by judges citing the Sharia." While many of the Christian majority countries in Europe, The Americas and Asia had begun to decriminalise homosexuality by the mid 20th century, Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Party, with intense far-right nationalist support, outlawed homosexual groups and included homosexuals as one of the minority groups sent to concentration camps. An estimated 3000-9000 homosexuals died in concentration camps between 1933 and 1945, with another 2000-6000 survivors made to serve the rest of their sentence in prison under Paragraph 175.

Current countries with the death penalty[edit]

There is legal dispute whether the law of the United Arab Emirates allows for the death penalty for homosexuality, however Amnesty International could find no instances of the death penalty.[5]



Australian states and territories inherited British laws relating to homosexuality, and laws passed in nineteenth century colonial parliaments retained the provisions which made homosexual activity a capital crime.[6] Over time, various jurisdictions began to reduce the death penalty for sodomy to life imprisonment, with Victoria being the last to remove the death penalty for this crime, in 1949.[6] The last person arrested for homosexual sex in Australia was a man in 1984 in Tasmania.[citation needed] The last part of Australia to legalise consensual homosexual sex between adults was Tasmania in 1997.

United Kingdom[edit]

From 1533 the capital felony for any person to "commit the detestable and abominable vice of buggery with mankind or beast," was repealed and re-enacted several times, until it was reinstated in 1563 remaining unchanged until 1861.[7] The last execution took place on 27 November 1835 when James Pratt and John Smith were hanged at Newgate.

One source claims the last execution for sodomy in the British Empire happened in the Colony of Tasmania (now part of Australia) in 1867.[8]

United States and colonial America[edit]

Colonial America had the laws of the United Kingdom, and the revolutionary states took many of those laws as the basis of their own, in some cases verbatim.[7] The last law where the death penalty was on the statute books was South Carolina, the old British law wasn't repealed until 1873, twelve years after the mother country.[7]

The number of times the penalty was carried out is unknown. Records support two executions, and a number of more uncertain convictions, such as "crimes against nature".[7]


  1. ^ "Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death". The Washington Post. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ "The Death Penalty in Afghanistan". Death Penalty Worldwide. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Brunei Law To Allow Death By Stoning For Gay Sex". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Aengus Carroll; Lucas Paoli Itaborahy (May 2015). "State-Sponsored Homophobia: A World Survey of Laws: criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love" (PDF). International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex association. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Bearak, Max; Cameron, Darla (16 June 2016). "Analysis - Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ a b Carbery, Graham (2010). "Towards Homosexual Equality in Australian Criminal Law: A Brief History" (PDF) (2nd ed.). Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives Inc.
  7. ^ a b c d Louis Crompton (1976). "Homosexuals and the Death Penalty in Colonial America". Journal of Homosexuality. 1 (3): 277–293. doi:10.1300/j082v01n03_03. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  8. ^

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