Under the Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Proclamation No. 414/2004 consensual sex between same-sex couples is unlawful [R1.3].
Article 629. – Homosexual and other Indecent Acts
“Whoever performs with another person of the same sex a homosexual act, or any other indecent act, is punishable with simple imprisonment.
Article 106. – Simple Imprisonment
“(1) Simple imprisonment is a sentence applicable to crimes of a not very serious nature committed by persons who are not a serious danger to society.
Without prejudice to conditional release, simple imprisonment may extend for a period of from ten days to three years.
However, simple imprisonment may extend up to five years where, owing to the gravity of the crime, it is prescribed in the Special Part of this Code, or where there are concurrent crimes punishable with simple imprisonment, or where the criminal has been punished repeatedly.
The Court shall fix the period of simple imprisonment in its judgment.
(2) The sentence of simple imprisonment shall be served in such prison or in such section thereof as is appointed for the purpose.
Article 630. – General Aggravation to the Crime
(1) The punishment shall be simple imprisonment for not less than one year, or, in grave cases, rigorous imprisonment not exceeding ten years, where the criminal:
a) takes unfair advantage of the material or mental distress of another or of the authority he exercises over another by virtue of his position, office or capacity as guardian, tutor, protector, teacher, master or employer, or by virtue of any other like relationship, to cause such other person to perform or to submit to such an act; or
b) makes a profession of such activities within the meaning of the law (Art. 92).
(2) The punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment from three years to fifteen years, where:
a) the criminal uses violence, intimidation or coercion, trickery or fraud, or takes unfair advantage of the victim’s inability to offer resistance or to defend himself or of his feeblemindedness or unconsciousness; or
b) the criminal subjects his victim to acts of cruelty or sadism, or transmits to him a venereal disease with which he knows himself to be infected; or
c) the victim is driven to suicide by distress, shame or despair.”
On 16 April 2014, Government spokesman Redwan Hussein was reported to have told Associated Press that the plan to make gay sex a non-pardonable offence had been dropped [R1.2].
On 20 March 2014, the Council of Ministers were reported to have last week endorsed the measure that would amend the country’s Pardon and Amnesty Law that lists homosexuality along other offenses as a non-pardonable [R1.1].