Not just Brunei, these 6 countries also still criminalise homosexuality and it's punishable by death

Unlike the Brunei outcry, where prominent personalities came forth to boycott Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his trades, these countries still continue to benefit from trade

                            Not just Brunei, these 6 countries also still criminalise homosexuality and it's punishable by death
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei (Source : Getty Images)

Brunei's draconian Islamic criminal law that makes gay sex punishable by stoning to death came into effect on Wednesday, despite international condemnation. While anti-LGBT measures were already in place in this south Asian country and homosexuality was already a criminal offense, this new change that was rolled out as a part of the Sharia law caught the world's attention. However, Brunei isn't the only country that has laws that penalize homosexuality with a death penalty. 

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI - SEPTEMBER 5. The Sultan of Brunei attends the powdering ceromony of his son at The Sultans Palace Diraja September 5, 2004 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu?izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince of Brunei Darussalam and his bride Princess Dayangku Sarah binti Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman were taking part in the traditional ceremony of Majlis Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja.. The Royal couple is anointed with herbs and pastes as part of the many traditional events leading up to the culmination of wedding ceremony on Wednesday. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)


According to the 13th edition of State-Sponsored Homophobia, a study conducted by International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, the following countries penalize homosexuality with death. But unlike the Brunei outcry, where prominent personalities came forth to boycott Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his trades, these countries still continue to benefit from trade from many nations.

1. Iran

Any type of sexual activity outside a heterosexual marriage is forbidden. Same-sex sexual activities are punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or execution. Gay men have faced stricter enforcement actions under the law than lesbians.


US trades with Iran, according to United States Census Bureau: For 2019, goods trades so far has been 4.5 million US dollars. In 2017 the number was 440.5 million in exports, 67.9 million in imports.  

It has been reported by the New York Times in 2010 that the United States Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 special licenses to American companies over the past decade to conduct business with Iran.

The US also provided $477,000 in the fiscal year 2017 and $483,500 in the fiscal year 2018 in obligation aid to Iran, according to US Foreign Aid Explorer. Iran's weapon sales with US was around $12,394 million according to Trading Economics. 


France's weapon sales to Iran was estimated to be around $2,162 million between 2018-2019 while imports were estimated to be $46,859 million and exports $42858 million respectively.


German exports to Iran soared in October 2018. Federal Statistics Office reveal that German goods exported to Iran totaled almost 400 million euros (which is $455 million) that month, Reuters reported. Weapon sales between the two countries are estimated to be $1653 million, while imports and exports are at $94,356 million and $108,851 million respectively.


Iran traded $1.85 billion in goods with Italy last year, according to Financial Tribune. It is the 10th biggest trading partner to Iran. According to the report, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration’s data has shown that Iran exported 765,301 tons of commodities worth $422.89 million to Italy in 2017, that included steel, metal, and methanol. 


Spain's exports to Iran in 2017 amount to $496.54 million and exports amount to $1.74 billion. As of 2017, weapon sales between the two countries amounted to $10 million. 


Its imports with Iran amounted to $33.65 million in 2017, and exports amounted to $291.20 million.

2. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is considered to have one of the worst LGBT rights records in the world. The law punishes acts of homosexuality or cross-dressing, with punishments ranging from fines, floggings, to life in prison, death, and torture. 


Goods trade with Saudi Arabia was at $1,143.9 million in 2018 in exports and $13,624.4 million in 2017 respectively. In 2017, the US cleared approximately $18 billion in new Saudi arms deals. For over 5 years before that, nearly one-fifth of American weapons exports went to Saudi Arabia, SIPRI reports.

Saudi Arabia also received $17,899 in aid in the fiscal year 2018 and $355,427 in the fiscal year 2017 in obligations.


Italy's exports to Saudi Arabia were worth $4.39 billion in 2017, imports were at $3.85 billion.

UK : 

Exports with Saudi Arabia in the fiscal year 2017 amounted to $5.40 billion while imports to $1.80 billion. 


Germany has banned sales to the country in light of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October last year. As for imports and export trade, it amounts to $94,356 million and $2,90,508 million respectively as updated in April, 2019.

3. Yemen

Article 264 of the national penal code prohibits private consensual homosexual acts between adult men. The stipulated punishment in the law for unmarried men is 100 lashes and up to a year in prison. The law stipulates that married men convicted of homosexuality are to be put to death.


Goods trade amounted to $1.8 million in 2019 and $195.1 million in 2018. 

Yemen got $416 million in the fiscal year 2017 in obligations and $387 million in 2018. 


Italy's imports from Yemen in 2017 amounted to $10.33 million.


The UK made $46.72 million in exports in 2017 to Yemen.

4. Nigeria

In addition to criminalizing homosexuality and making it punishable by death, Nigeria has enacted legislation that would make it illegal for heterosexual family members, allies and friends of LGBT people to be supportive.


Nigeria's imports from the United States in goods was worth US$2.49 billion during 2017, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. Goods trade is 178.2 million in 2019 and was $2,668.4 million in 2018. 

It received $555 million in 2018 from the US in aid obligations.


UK traded $1.66 billion in imports and exported goods worth $1.44 billion in 2017.

5. Sudan

Three-time offenders under the sodomy law can be put to death; first and second convictions result in flogging and imprisonment.


Goods trade: 2.8 million this year, 95.1 million last year 

Sudan’s main imports are food, manufactured goods, and machinery. Its main import partner is China. Others include Brazil, UAE, India, Italy, and Germany.  Sudan’s most important export is gold followed by livestock. Others include oil, Arabic gum, and cotton. Main import partner is China followed by UAE, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Italy. 

Sudan was given $107 million in 2018 in aid obligations.


Sudan traded $155.55 million in 2017 as exports to Italy. 


Sudan and UK traded $101.23 million in exports 2017 and $13.44 million in imports the same year.

6. Somalia

In territories controlled by Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen in Somalia, the terrorist organization enacts a strict interpretation of shariah which explicitly outlaws homosexuality. The punishment for those found guilty is at a judge’s discretion and may be punished by death


Somalia main exports are livestock, bananas, skins, fish, charcoal and scrap metal and it's main export partners are the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Oman. Goods trade between the US and Somalia went up to a record high of $50.1 million in 2018 and is $1.5 million so far this year.  

The country received $297 million in aid obligations in 2018 from the US.


Italy traded for $37.88 million in 2017 with Somalia in exports and spent $625.42 thousand on imports.