Sudan Is Replacing The Death Penalty For Gay Sex With 7 Years In Jail

Sudan is moving to repeal the death penalty for gay sex. LGBT+ people could still be criminalised, however, under its newly enacted codes.

Under the existing law, any male “who inserts his penis or its equivalent into a woman’s or a man’s anus” faced a sentence of five years’ imprisonment and 100 lashes on the first offense. A second offense merited a similar punishment, but the third resulted in a life sentence or the death penalty.

It’s not all good news. Individuals accused of anal intercourse could still be sentenced with up to seven years in prison under the new laws.

Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari told the BBC that the decision is intended to move the country of 41.8 million people “toward equality of citizenship and a democratic transformation.”

Maria Sjödin, deputy executive director of the LGBT+ human rights group OutRight Action International, said in a statement that the slate of reforms is “an important step for the human rights of [LGBT+] people and human rights in Sudan overall.”

The is the third significant LGBT+ development in Africa in the past twelve months. Earlier this month, Gabon voted to overturn a year-old law criminalizing homosexuality, while the Botswana High Court struck down the country’s colonial-era gay sex ban in 2019.

LGBT+ people in Sudan have virtually no rights or protections, meaning they can also be fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes if their identities are revealed.

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