Reforms in Sudan Result in Removal of Death Penalty and Flogging for Same-Sex Relations


15 July 2020

Media Contact: Daina Ruduša,, +1 (917) 622-1865

Reforms in Sudan Result in Removal of Death Penalty and Flogging for Same-Sex Relations

Last week several legal reforms were passed by the Sovereign Council of Sudan, including the ban of female genital mutilation, the removal of an apostasy law which punished abandonment of Islam with death by stoning, as well as the ban of public flogging. According to Bedayaa, an organization working to promote the rights of LGBTIQ people in the Nile Valley area, the reforms also include 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 criminalized 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 that 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.

Deputy Executive Director of OutRight Action International, Maria Sjödin, comments:

“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 LGBTIQ people, and human rights in Sudan overall. It is astonishing that over a third of the world's countries continue to criminalize 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 decriminalization of same-sex love will follow.”

67 countries continue to criminalize same-sex relations across the world. Earlier this month the Senate of Gabon voted to reverse criminalization 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.



OutRight Action International works at a global, regional and national level to eradicate the persecution, inequality, and violence lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people face around the world. From its offices in 7 countries and headquarters in New York, OutRight builds capacity of LGBTIQ movements, documents human rights violations, advocates for inclusion and equality, and holds leaders accountable for protecting the rights of LGBTIQ people everywhere. OutRight has recognized consultative status at the United Nations.