Homosexuals in Sudan and the influence of religious and cultural attitudes regarding homosexuality [SDN29293.E]

Recent information on the treatment of homosexuals in Sudan could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, a 20 August 1996 IPS report quotes a homosexual interviewed in Khartoum as saying that under the Sharia (Islamic law), homosexuality is punishable by death through stoning or public hanging and that the Sudanese parliament was about to introduce legislation that would make homosexuality "a criminal act punishable by death."

A lesbian woman interviewed in the article stated:

"Talk about lesbian or gay rights is illegal. We are not allowed to express our sexuality, partly because it is considered to be a foreign culture and partly because we lived in a Islamic-Catholic dominated society which does not allow people to live in the way they want."

The woman also added that

"The death sentence for gays or lesbians has been in the Islamic book of laws for years, since the teachings of the prophet (Muhammed) emphasizes that it is a duty of the Islamic state to eliminate sodomy, and those who are guilty of it should be punished by death."

However, according to the report, Islamic scholars differ on the issue: the Hannafi School teaches that one who has committed sodomy should be "corrected before being punished" while the Tazir School of Islamic law, which prevails in Sudan, prescribes 100 slashes for a first offence, plus five years in prison and a fine left to the judge's discretion. For a second offence, the punishment is 100 lashes and a ten-year jail sentence. And, for a third offence, the punishment is death or life imprisonment. The sentences cannot be appealed.

The report also quoted a Sudanese lawyer as saying that provisions against homosexuality were introduced into the penal code in 1991 and that parliament was considering (in 1996) introducing legislation calling for the removal of gays and lesbians from their jobs in the public service and from their seats in parliament and state assemblies.

The Research Directorate is unable to corroborate this information provided above nor has it been able to discover whether or not the proposed legislation was introduced and passed by the Sudanese parliament.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International. April 1997. Breaking the Silence.

Inter Press Service (IPS). 20 August 1996. Nhial Bol. "Sudan-Human Rights: Who dares to Talk About Gay Rights?" (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Electronic sources: FBIS, Internet.

International Gays and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (ILGHRC), San Francisco, Ca. No information.