Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises sex between men
  • Criminalises sex between women
  • Criminalises the gender identity/expression of trans people
Penal Code 2018, Article 261 Same-Sex Intercourse Between Men

Article 261 of the new Penal Code criminalises consensual sex between men with a penalty of between six months and three years imprisonment.1

Penal Code 2018, Article 265 Indecent Acts

Article 265 prohibits acts of indecency committed publicly with a penalty of between ten days and three months imprisonment, as well as a fine.2

Penal Code 2018, Article 267 Indecent Images

Article 267 criminalises creating, distributing or displaying indecent or immoral images with a penalty of between ten days and one year imprisonment and a fine. It is unclear what would constitute an indecent or immoral image under this provision.3

Penal Code 2018, Article 268 Indecent Communications

Article 268 prohibits the use of electronic communications to share indecent or immoral materials with a penalty of between ten days and one month imprisonment and a fine. It is unclear what constitutes indecent or immoral materials for the purposes of this provision.4

Penal Code 2018, Article 266 Crossdressing

Article 266 makes it an offence for a man to appear dressed in women’s clothing. This offence carries a penalty of between one month and one year imprisonment and a fine.

Enforcement

2017

Some sources state that the laws under the previous Penal Code were enforced during the year and mentioned two cases of criminalising “crossdressing.”

2013

The 2013 US Department of State Human Rights Report on Oman found no reports of prosecutions during the year, but noted that there were nine prosecutions for sodomy in 2009.

Persecution and Discrimination

2018

In September, four men were arrested after a video in which two of them were crossdressing was published on social media. An Omani court sentenced these two men to four years in jail and fined them $7,792, while the other two men were sentenced to three years in prison and fined $7,792 for partaking in the video and agreeing to have it posted on social media.

2017

The US Department of State Human Rights Report on Oman stated that LGBT people were subject to legal, institutional, and social discrimination. Social and cultural norms reinforced discrimination against openly LGBT persons, while public discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity remained a social taboo, and authorities took steps to block LGBT-related internet content.

Furthermore, transgender persons were not recognised as a gender class by the government and were not afforded protection from discrimination.

2013

In 2013 a newspaper was suspended for posting a controversial article sympathetic towards homosexual people in Oman. The newspaper later posted a front page apology.

Legislative News

2018

A new Penal Code was published by a royal statute in the beginning of the year. The code contains harsher penalties for crossdressing, consensual same-sex intercourse, public acts of indecency and the publication or transmission of “words, images or programs contrary to the public order or morals”. As yet it is not clear whether these provisions have been enforced against LGBT persons.

2016

In its second UPR cycle, Oman noted all the recommendations it received that concerned the decriminalisation of consensual same-sex relations and protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.

2011

During its first UPR cycle, Oman rejected recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual relations.

Footnotes
1. Penal Code 2018, Article 261 Same-Sex Intercourse Between Men

“Any male who has consensual sexual intercourse with another male shall be punished with a prison sentence of six months to three years. The same penalty shall apply to the male who accepted the intercourse.” Full text.

2. Penal Code 2018, Article 265 Indecent Acts

“Whoever commits publicly, in word or deed, an act of indecency shall be punished with a prison sentence of ten days to three months and a fine of 100 to 300 Riyal Omani or by any of these penalties.” Full text.

3. Penal Code 2018, Article 267 Indecent Images

“Whoever creates, distributes or displays, even in private, a text, publication, drawing, photograph, film/video, symbol or any other object that is indecent and immoral shall be punished with a prison sentence of ten days to one year and fine of 100 to 300 Riyal Omani or by any of these penalties.” Full text.

4. Penal Code 2018, Article 268 Indecent Communications

“Whoever uses wire or wireless communications, electronic means/media, sentences, photographs, programs or any method to transfer sentences, photographs or programs that are against decency or morals shall be punished with a prison sentence of ten days to one month and a fine of 100 to 300 Riyal Omani or by any of these penalties.” Full text.

Keep in Touch

Sign up to our newsletter for updates on key legal challenges to anti-LGBT laws around the world, news on the reform of discriminatory laws in the Commonwealth, comment from our Director on landmark judgments and employment opportunities at the Trust.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER