50 years on since gay sex was legalised in the UK, many countries still continue to punish homosexuals

50 years on since gay sex was legalised in the UK, many countries still continue to punish homosexuals

Gay rights marches have been held in some of the countries

Thursday, July 27, 2017

As we celebrate 50 years since gay sex in the UK was legalised, it's easy to forget that several other countries have yet to even reach this stage.

The fact that gay people can demonstrate their true feelings, free from persecution, is rightly a source of pride and happiness for the LGBT community of the UK.

But it is also a distant fantasy for their counterparts in dozens of other countries. In fact, research conducted last year found that being gay was illegal in 74 countries - over a third of the global total. In many of these countries, gay people can be subject to extreme punishment and intimidation for the 'crime' of demonstrating physical or romantic attraction to a member of the same sex.

Here are some of the most egregious offenders:

India

In India those found to be taking part in “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. In 2015, 1,491 arrests were made in relation to Section 377 of the penal code - which was originally based on British law. However, it is not clear how many of these arrests were a result of consensual or nonconsensual acts.

Last year a vote was held on a private member's bill to repeal the law but it was voted down by a margin of 58 to 14.

Sudan

It is illegal for both men and women to have same-sex relationships in Sudan as laws are based on the strict Sharia code. Article 148 states that the offence is punishable by death. The first time someone is found having same-sex relations they are usually punished by lashing and can be imprisoned for up to five years.

If they are found guilty of homosexual acts a second time they are lashed and imprisoned and after a third incident they can be killed or sentenced to life in prison.

In the last 10 years, however, there have been no reported executions for gay sex in the country. Which shouldn't be a victory, but probably is.

Morocco

In Moroccan law people can be punished for same-sex “sexual deviancy.” This term is also often used as a euphemism for homosexuality in both court files and police reports. Anyone found to be having gay sex can be given a fine and sent to prison for up to three years.

It is more common for men to be arrested in the country than women. In one high-profile case, two Moroccan men were arrested for a video of them kissing which went viral online last year.

Saudi Arabia

The country currently has laws against gay sex, meaning anyone caught can be given the death penalty. But last year it was reported that some Saudi officials wanted to be able to impose the death penalty on those who come out as gay.

Those found to be engaging in homosexuality for the first time can be imprisoned, lashed or given fines, and in the past men have been prosecuted for acts such as wearing women's clothes or flying the LGBT flag. Being found guilty of committing homosexual acts a second time can lead to execution.

Iran

Homosexuality is punishable by lashings or death in Iran, and those found guilty are often convicted of rape as well.

A confession to being gay can be punished by up to 74 lashes without evidence, but confessing to being gay four times can be punishable by death or 100 lashes. Even those confessions obtained under torture are admissible in a court of law.

Pakistan

It is illegal to be gay in Pakistan and same-sex relationships can be punished by up to 10 years in prison and a fine. Gay people are also not allowed to serve in the army.

Homosexuality being illegal in the country again comes from British colonial-era law, and has been in place since 1860.

Comments