Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises sex between men
  • Criminalises sex between women
  • Death penalty applies
Penal Code 2004, Article 281

Article 281 criminalises sex with a female with a penalty of up to seven years imprisonment. The provision is gender-neutral as to the other party so it seemingly applies equally to same-sex and opposite-sex sexual activity.

Penal Code 2004, Article 285

Article 285 criminalises sex with a male with a penalty of up to seven years imprisonment. The provision is gender-neutral as to the other party so it seemingly applies equally to same-sex and opposite-sex sexual activity.

Penal Code 2004, Article 296

Article 296 criminalises “leading, instigating or seducing a male by in any way to commit sodomy” and “inducing or seducing a male or female anyhow to commit illegal or immoral acts” with a penalty of between one and three years imprisonment. The term “immoral acts” is undefined.

Enforcement

2017

The US Department of State Human Rights Report for Qatar states that due to social and religious conventions, there were no public reports of enforcing the law or violence against LGBT persons.

In its 2017 State-Sponsored Homophobia Report, ILGA noted that while it is technically possible for Muslim men to be sentenced to death in Sharia Courts for same-sex sexual activity, there are no reports of this being applied to date. Furthermore, it noted that the Sharia offence of Zina renders any extra-marital sexual act punishable by death, and any sexual act by an unmarried person punishable by flogging. These laws apply to both same-sex and opposite-sex sexual activity.

Statements by Public Figures

2013

The decision to give Qatar the task of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been heavily criticised due to its record on labour rights and laws criminalising homosexuality. One FIFA delegate, Director of Football Against Racism Piara Powar, stated in September that the organisation would try to secure legislative change: “Qatar wants to host the tournament at the start of a new decade, they will want to present an internationally welcoming face and with FIFA’s help we are sure it will be possible to win over the Qataris so that they come into line with the rest of the world, including other countries in the Gulf and Middle East and change the law on homosexuality”.

In October, Qatar was one of a number of Gulf States to agree to introduce tests to prevent LGBT individuals from entering the country. Director of the Public Health Department of Kuwait, Dr. Yousuf Mendakar, explained the planned proposals: “Homosexuals and ‘third-sex’ individuals can be detected through clinical tests during the routine medical examination for visa… Expatriates undergo medical tests at local clinics, but the new procedure includes stricter measures to find out homosexuals and transgenders so that they are banned from entering Kuwait or any GCC state”.

Expatriates undergo medical tests at local clinics, but the new procedure includes stricter measures to find out homosexuals and transgenders so that they are banned from entering Kuwait or any GCC state.

Dr. Yousuf Mendakar, Kuwait Public Health Department Director

Persecution and Discrimination

2018

Qatar initiated censorship of LGBT rights news coverage. ABC News reported, for example, that several articles that pertained to issues affecting the LGBT community had been excised from the Doha edition of the New York Times International Edition.

2017

The US Department of State Human Rights Report for Qatar stated there were no reports of violence against LGBT persons who largely hid their sexual orientation due to a pattern of discrimination against them. Furthermore, the report stated that due to social and religious conventions, there were no LGBT organisations, gay pride marches, or gay rights advocacy events. Information was not available on official or private discrimination in employment, occupation, housing, statelessness, or access to education or health care based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Legislative News

2014

In its second UPR cycle, Qatar did not receive any recommendations relating to decriminalising consensual same-sex relations or to protect LGBT individuals.

2010

During its first UPR cycle, Qatar rejected a recommendation to decriminalise consensual same-sex relations.

Footnotes
1. Penal Code 2004, Article 281

“Whoever copulates with a female over sixteen without compulsion, duress or ruse shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to seven years.

The same penalty shall also be imposed on the female for her consent. The offender shall be sentenced to life imprisonment or to a prison term up to fifteen years if he is one of those previously mentioned in the second paragraph of Article 279 of the present Law.” Full text.

2. Penal Code 2004, Article 285

“Whoever copulates with a male over sixteen years of age without compulsion, duress or ruse shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to seven years.

The same penalty shall apply to the male for his consent. The penalty shall be life imprisonment or a prison term not exceeding fifteen years if the offender is one of those previously mentioned in the second Paragraph of Article 279 of the present Law.” Full text.

3. Penal Code 2004, Article 296

“Whoever commits the following offences shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of no less than one year and no more than three years:

3- Leading, instigating or seducing a male by in any way to commit sodomy or dissipation;

4- Inducing or seducing a male or a female in any way to commit illegal or immoral actions.” 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