Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises sex between men
  • Criminalises sex between women
  • Death penalty applies
Penal Code 1962, Article 409 Homosexuality

Article 409 criminalises “carnal intercourse with a person of the same sex” with a penalty of three months to three years imprisonment, with a lesser punishment for “an act of lust different from carnal intercourse.” Under Article 410, security measures may also be imposed. Sexual intimacy between men and between women are criminalised under this provision.1 The death penalty has been imposed by local groups.



While the maximum penalty for same-sex intercourse under the Penal Code is three years imprisonment, the death penalty can be imposed by militant groups operating in the country. In January 2017, the US Department of State Human Rights Report on Somalia stated that al-Shabaab, a militant Islamist group, announced that it had executed a teenage boy and a young man for engaging in homosexual activity. This was the first report of such executions taking place.


The 2013 UK Home Office Country of Origin Report on Somalia highlighted unconfirmed reports that a man was stoned to death for his alleged homosexuality by Islamic rebels whilst “horrified villagers were forced to watch”.

Persecution and Discrimination


The US Department of State Human Rights Report on Somalia stated that there were no known LGBT organisations and no reports of LGBT-related events. It further stated that there were few reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity due to severe societal stigma preventing LGBT individuals from making their sexual orientation or gender identity known publicly.


Reports have indicated that LGBT Somali refugees face a serious risk of death should they return home to Somalia.

Legislative News


In its second UPR cycle, Somalia noted a recommendation to address “widespread impunity” for attacks against LGBT persons by investigating threats of violence and prosecuting perpetrators. Somalia did not receive any recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual conduct.

1. Penal Code 1962, Article 409 Homosexuality

“Whoever has carnal intercourse with a person of the same sex shall be punished, where the act does not constitute a more serious crime, with imprisonment from three months to three years. Where the act committed is an act of lust different from carnal intercourse, the punishment imposed shall be reduced by one-third.

Article 410. Security Measures – A security measure may be added to a sentence for crimes referred to in Articles 407, 408, and 409.” Full text.

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