Believe it or not, there are still countries today (yes, today) that enforce the death penalty for homosexuality.
The following are countries that find homosexuality punishable by death: Mauritania, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Somalia, parts of Nigeria and parts of Malaysia (I know).
According to The Boroumand Foundation, there were at least 107 recorded executions in Iran related to homosexuality between 1979 and 1990. However, the execution of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni in 2005 drew the most international attention because disturbing photos of their hanging were found distributed across the web (see image). The controversy revolved around the fact that the two individuals were gay teenagers.
Uganda may also soon even add itself to the list of countries that find homosexuality punishable by death. A Ugandan lawmaker explains that "this is a piece of legislation that is needed in this country to protect the traditional family" (sound familiar?)
This statement was actually given in 2010 after a story ran on October 9 in a newspaper called "Rolling Stone" of Uganda's "100 top homos." The tabloid (cough, government) published pictures, names and address of the alleged "criminals" asking that they be hanged or killed on command.
The headline of the front-page story flat out reads "Hang Them."
For more disturbing images and coverage of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni's hanging, click here.
In May 2008, at the height of persecution in Senegal when gays were being rounded up by policemen, beaten and tortured, many people fled to neighboring countries for safety. However, those who sought freedom in Gambia, the south of Senegal, ran straight into a living nightmare. Instead of offering solace, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh promised "stricter laws than Iran" on homosexuality. He held a political rally telling homosexuals to leave his country within 24 hours or their heads would be cut off.
He said in his speech, "The Gambia is a country of believers...sinful and immoral practices [such] as homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country."
Keep in mind that this is the same guy who has so much authoritative power he's even claimed to have discovered a cure for HIV and AIDS in a mixture of herbs (yet is conveniently just "not using it to help the world.".
The image to the left is a picture of President Jammeh administering his miracle concoction to a dying patient (it didn't work.)
Stoning is a method of capital punishment that is as close to being buried alive as you can get, only without the convenience of suffocation and a LOT more pain.
Sudan is one country that uses stoning as part of their punishment for homosexual behavior, particularly against women. Lesbian women in Sudan are stoned and given thousands of lashes on their very first offense. They are buried up to their neck in the ground while being pelted with stones at the head. Meanwhile, gay men in Sudan are given lashes for the first offence and the death penalty on the third.
Stoning in Nigeria, however, is not only exclusive to homosexual women. Death by stoning is strictly enforced for any married or divorced Muslim man engaged in same-sex sexual activity. International alarm was raised in 2005 when a 50-year-old man in northern Nigeria was stoned to death under Islamic Sharia law after admitting homosexual sex.
Another case backed by media attention is one in Kabul, Afghanistan involving a 84-year-old man charged with homosexual activity.
After a high-tech Taliban version of stoning which consists of a tank pushing a stone wall over the person (take a moment to re-read that), the accused victim actually survived. He was then taken to a hospital because by Islamic law if a person survives the stoning after 30 minutes, they are permitted to continue living.
He was soon talking to reporters and told the "Afghan Daily News" that he was innocent.
The Afghanistan Law of Marriages defines a legal marriage to be between two Muslim adults of the opposite sex. Any other variation outside the Islamic law in Afghanistan is met with the death penalty or up to 15 years of imprisonment.
Saudi Arabia instills a similar form of punishment for homosexuality and cross dressing. The two have long been deemed as immoral acts by the Saudi judicial board, who advised Muslim judges in 1928 to treat "Liwat" (or sodomy, and in this case gay sex) the same way as fornication (premarital sex).
If caught engaging in extramarital sexual activity while being married, one must be stoned to death, which means that if most American celebrities lived in that Saudi government, they would have been stoned (and not the kind of stoned they are right now). If someone is not married and is caught in extramarital affairs, one must be whipped and banished for a year. That's right, they still "banish" people for small offense like that somewhere in the world.
In April 2000 the Saudi government sentenced over 100 men to time in prison and lashings for simply attending a same-sex wedding ceremony or birthday party.
Interestingly enough, the law is not always obeyed by those behind it. Take Saudi Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud who killed his servant Bandar Abdulaziz in London.
Though the prince has denied being gay, several pieces of evidence that surfaced later prove otherwise. A barman at the Sanderson Hotel in which Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud was staying claims the prince hit on him, suggesting they go on a date. Two male escorts also visited the prince's suite and police has proof that he had visited gay escort websites. Lastly, the violence set upon his servant was not only physical but found to be sexual as well.
In the end, Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud got a taste of his own country's medicine and was sentenced to a long prison term -- which goes to show exactly how stringent the law is against homosexuality in Saudi Arabia that even the prince himself is subject to its rule.
Public flogging is yet another way homosexuality is punished in some countries. Iran has an entire system of administering lashes for both male homosexuality and female homosexuality. A non-adult male who engages in consensual sodomy (which the Iranian government considers homosexuality), is met with a punishment of 74 lashes, which means nobody gets to experiment in college.
The punishment for female homosexuality is 100 lashes.
This can be performed a total number of three times before the woman is subjected to the death penalty.
Grown men are also part of the flogging mix. Amir, a 22-year-old gay Iranian, was arrested as part of Iran's massive Internet entrapment campaign targeting gays and was sentenced to 100 lashes. He describes the flogging in the following way:
"I passed out before the 100 lashes were over. When I woke up, my arms and legs were so numb that I fell over when they picked me up from the platform on which I’d been lashed. They had told me that if I screamed, they would beat me even harder—so I was biting my arms so hard, to keep from screaming, that I left deep teeth wounds in my own arms."
It is not uncommon for flogging to lead to permanent damage of the organs, internal bleeding and even death.
Gays are not only put to death in several countries for their sexual orientation, but are afterward, to add insult to injury, also denied a proper burial.
In 2008, a much-publicized gay wedding in the capital of Senegal and a major international Islamic summit held in Senegal together (at the same time, kind of like CES and that porn convention every January in Vegas) had so much effect on the government (read: offended the government so much), that the entire country started to crack down on actions deemed un-Islamic.
As you can guess, homosexuality was a no-go.
Homosexuals were targeted and blamed as the cause of difficulties within the country because they were deviating from the Islamic faith. As more and more people sided with this belief, more and more homosexuals were tossed to the wayside. Literally: tossed and left there.
Serigne Mbaye is one example of a recipient of that kind of treatment. After he grew ill and passed away, his children wanted to bury him in his village. However, because of widespread rumors that Mbaye was gay, no cemetery would accept him. His corpse was rejected repeatedly by every cemetery that his children had no choice but to bury him on the side of the road, using their own hands as shovels. In the end, the grave was too shallow and the dirt put over Mbaye's body could not sufficiently cover him.
And get this. When the decomposing body was later discovered, Mbaye's children were arrested and...charged with improperly burying their father. Not ironic, but cruel.
No Political Freedom, No Human Rights
In 2006, Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Church of Nigeria got behind a new law in Nigeria that allows the government to prosecute newspapers that publish information about same-sex unions. He also showed his support for prosecuting religious organizations that permit same-sex unions. Now, this goes a beyond not being able to get married, and not being able to repeat the same benefits as heterosexuals. This means that the government is making a concerted effort to track you down.
With one hand controlling the press and the other monitoring religious faith, Akinola's actions are another example of the most basic freedoms stifled by conservative bigotry.
The Gambia also follows suit with little to no freedom of speech for gay media.
Six journalists were arrested in 2009, including a nursing mother of an eight month old baby, for merely running a press release arguing against President Jammeh (a friendly leader mentioned in the second entry, if friendly means cutting people's heads off).
There are also trails of unresolved murder cases, disappearances and forced dismissals of editors of certain media publications.
Surprisingly, the Nigerian government is a Federal Republic and is actually modeled after the United States.
Though they are nowhere near as liberal as a "democratic country" should be, they are farther along with their People's Democratic Party of Nigeria than the other countries.
Even so, there is absolutely no democratic freedom for homosexuals. Nigerian homosexuals are not even allowed to gather together and petition to the government for what they believe are their rights.
Nigeria is just one of many countries that do not give homosexuals a place at all in their political hierarchy, let alone civil rights.