Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

Algeria: Treatment of homosexuals by society and government authorities; protection available including recourse to the law for homosexuals who have been subject to ill-treatment (2005-2007)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 30 July 2007
Citation / Document Symbol DZA102570.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Algeria: Treatment of homosexuals by society and government authorities; protection available including recourse to the law for homosexuals who have been subject to ill-treatment (2005-2007), 30 July 2007, DZA102570.E, available at: [accessed 17 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Legal framework

Homosexuality is illegal for both males and females in Algeria (Behind the Mask 21 Feb. 2005; AI 2007; ILGA Apr. 2007; Sud Ouest 5 Sept. 2006; ibid. 23 Dec. 2006). According to Article 338 of Algeria's Penal Code, people who participate in homosexual acts may be punished by two months' to two years' imprisonment and to a fine of 500 to 2,000 Algerian dinars (DIN) (Sodomy Laws 21 Apr. 2005; ILGA Apr. 2007, 6), equivalent to 8 to 12 Canadian dollars (CAD) (OANDA 18 June 2007). If one participant is under 18 years of age, the punishment of the older participant can be increased to three years' imprisonment and a 10,000 DIN (Sodomy Laws 21 Apr 2005; ILGA Apr. 2007, 6) or 158 CAD fine (OANDA 18 June 2007).

Moreover, according to Article 333, "when the outrage to public decency has consisted of an act against nature with an individual of the same sex," the penalty is punishable by a prison term of six months to three years, and a fine of 1,000 DIN to 10,000 DIN (Sodomy Laws 21 Apr. 2005) or 16 CAD to 158 CAD (OANDA 18 June 2007).

An article appearing in, a Web site based in the United States (US) which reports on gay issues, stated that "Algeria practices Sharia law, which calls for death for homosexuals" (20 Apr. 2005). However, no information could be found by the Research Directorate to corroborate this statement within the time constraints of this Response.

Treatment by society

Behind the Mask, a non-profit media organization that publishes information for gay men and lesbians in Africa, describes Algerian public attitudes as "violently homophobic;" it states that gay people can be assassination targets for Islamic fundamentalists and that honour killings by family and neighbours are not rare (Behind the Mask 21 Feb. 2005). The Web site corroborates the information that "honour killings" have been attempted (18 July 2005). In January 2005, the London-based QX Magazine, a weekly publication which reports on gay issues, published the story of a homosexual Algerian refugee (18 Jan. 2005). He claimed to have witnessed both the murder of two gay friends by Islamic fundamentalists, and the stoning of two men, alleged to be homosexuals, by neighbours (QX Magazine 18 Jan. 2005).

The British-based National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) lists Algeria as a country where "it is practically impossible to live at all if you're gay" (7 Apr. 2007). Reports by French newspapers Sud Ouest and Libération describe two cases in which gay Algerian men were beaten and rejected by their families for being homosexual; both men subsequently left Algeria (5 Sept. 2006; 13 Sept. 2006).

An article appearing in QX Magazine asserts that there are no gay organizations or support groups in Algeria (19 Jan. 2005). The Research Directorate found two Algerian Web sites dealing with gay issues: Kelmaghreb, which descirbes itself as the first online magazine for gay Maghrebins [North Africans], and Algerigay, founded in 2004 (Kalmaghreb n.d.; Algerigay n.d.).

Treatment by the police

An article in QX Magazine states that the Algerian police do not protect "sodomites" from violence (18 Jan. 2005). According to an article in the UK Gay News, the police and military reportedly "harass and brutalise gay people with impunity" (21 Feb. 2005). Moreover, rape, beatings, and torture are reported to be common for gay men in both civilian and military prisons (QX Magazine 18 Jan. 2005; UK Gay News 21 Feb. 2005; Behind the Mask 21 Feb. 2005).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References 18 July 2005. Malcolm Thornberry. "UK Leaders Receive Death Threats From Muslim Fundamentalists Group Says." [Accessed 6 June 2007]
_____. 20 April 2005. Peter Moore. "Gay Iranian Kills Himself After UK Asylum Appeal Denied." [Accessed 6 June 2007]

Algerigay. N.d. [Acessed 7 June 2007]

Amnesty International (AI). July 2006. "Sexual Minorities and the Law: A World Survey." [Accessed 4 June 2006]

Behind the Mask. 21 February 2005. "Gay Algerian Faces Deportation After 10 years in UK." [Accessed 6 June 2007]
_____. N.d. "About Algeria." [Accessed 4 June 2007
_____. N.d. "History of Behind the Mask." [Assessed 26 July 2007]

International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA). April 2007. Daniel Ottosson. "State Sponsored Homophobia." [Accessed 6 June 2007]

Kelmaghreb. N.d. [Accessed 25 June 2007]

Libération.13 September 2006. Catherine Coroller. "Expulsion rejetée pour cause d'homosexualité." (Factiva)

National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC). 7 April 2007. "The Crime of Being Gay: Moses' Story." [Accessed 6 June 2007]

OANDA Currency Converter. 18 June 2007. [Accessed 18 June 2007]

QX Magazine [London]. 18 January 2005. "Ordeal of a Gay Asylum Seeker." [Accessed 25 June 2007]

Sodomy Laws. 21 April 2005. "Algeria." [Accessed 4 June 2007]

Sud Ouest. 23 December 2006. "Homosexual Algérian: le yo-yo judiciare." (Factiva)
_____. 5 September 2006. Florence Moreau. "Homosexuel, il risque la mort s'il rentre en Algérie." (Factiva)

UK Gay News. 21 February 2005. "Gay Algerian Faces Deportation After 10 Years in UK." [Accessed 7 June 2007]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Advocate, Afrol News, AllAfrica, Citizens Against Homophobia, Gay and Lesbian Arabic Society (GLAS), GlobalGayz, Jeune Afrique,, Pambazuka News, UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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