Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises LGBT people
  • Criminalises sex between men
  • Criminalises sex between women
Summary

Same-sex sexual activity is prohibited under the Penal Code 1966, which criminalises ‘acts of homosexuality’ and ‘public indecency’. These provisions carry a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine. Both men and women are criminalised under the law.

Algerian law has its origins in French law, having been a French colony until independence in 1962, though Islamic law is also influential. The 1966 Penal Code, enacted shortly after independence, remains in force today and is the principal criminal law of Algeria.

There is some evidence of the law being enforced in recent years, with LGBT people being subject to arrest and conviction, including a high-profile incident in 2020 in which 44 people were convicted for attending a same-sex marriage. There have been consistent reports of discrimination and violence being committed against LGBT people in recent years, including assaults, the denial of basic rights and services, and even murder.

Enforcement

2020

The US Department of State Human Rights report on Algeria stated that in February, two men were arrested for ‘acts of homosexuality’ after sharing images of their wedding ceremony on social media.

The same report documents an incident of mass arrest of 44 people who allegedly attended a same-sex marriage in July. The 44 people were convicted under Algeria’s public indecency laws in September, with two men being sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and a fine, while the others each received a one-year suspended sentence. 

2017

The US Department of State Human Rights report on Algeria states that there were multiple arrests for same-sex sexual relations but no known prosecutions during the year.

2016

In 2016 the Department of State reported that “the vague wording of laws identifying ‘homosexual acts’ and ‘acts against nature’ permitted sweeping accusations that resulted during the year in multiple arrests for same-sex sexual relations but no prosecutions.”

2013

In May, a Canadian Refugee Board report on the treatment of sexual minorities in Algeria quotes a local news source which states that two gay men were detained for “indecent behaviour and incitement to immorality”. It similarly cites a 2010 report from Algeria, which claims an imam caught having “homosexual relations” in his mosque, was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Discrimination and Violence

2020

The US Department of State report notes that LGBT people are not protected by Algeria’s anti-discrimination legislation, and they face discrimination in accessing public services, such as healthcare, including “longer wait times, refusal of treatment, and shaming.” LGBT people also report issues accessing employment and legal services.

2019

In February, a student was killed in his dorm and reports suggest the attack was motivated by his sexual orientation, as the words “he is gay” were allegedly written on the wall in his blood. Hundreds of students protested against the attack, however the perpetrators have not been caught.

2017 

Algerian LGBT activists have reported incidents of arbitrary detention and physical and sexual abuse by police officers of LGBT people.

2013-2016

Algerian LGBT organisation, Trans Homos DZ, published a series of reports documenting the violence suffered by LGBT people in their everyday lives, including cases of violence in the family, in public spaces, in university, in the workplace, and in prisons. They also documented anti-LGBT rhetoric of the media, particularly media outlets, Ennahar TV and Echourouk TV. Trans Homos DZ also published a report which noted the physical and sexual abuse of prisoners based on their sexual orientation. It was alleged that prisoners who were perceived as gay or transgender were placed in a specific cellblock near other prisoners who had committed serious crimes.

2013

The UK Country of Origin report on Algeria indicated that individuals are subjected to societal abuse. It quotes a 2011 article by a German broadcaster which interviewed an individual living in Algeria: “I got arrested in Algeria once when I was 17 years old. I was just hanging out on the street with a friend, but I looked a bit effeminate with my long hair… The policeman was trying to force me to sign something that I didn’t admit to, so I didn’t sign it. Then another policeman signed it on my behalf. Since that time I have been publicly outed with the police and the government in Algiers, and they even keep a register containing all the names of gay people in Algeria.” Other LGBT individuals outlined in the document were reportedly recipients of death threats.

References

Related Countries

Morocco

Morocco criminalises same-sex sexual activity between men and between women. Sentences include a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine.

Tunisia

Tunisia criminalises same-sex sexual activity between men and between women. Sentences include a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment.

Libya

Libya criminalises same-sex sexual activity between men and between women. Sentences include a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.

Local Organisations

Trans Homos DZ

an Algerian organisation working to support and protect LGBT people through advocacy and research.

Alouen (Colors)

an Algerian organisation of young LGBT people working to overturn discriminatory laws and educate society on LGBT issues.

Abu Nawas

an Algerian organisation working towards the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual activity.

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