Last edited: November 24, 2007


  • Statute: Article 204
  • Penalty: 3 years in prison.
  • Restrictions: 
Nicaraguan President Signs Sodomy Law: "Nicaraguan president Violeta Chamorro has signed into law a new penal code that makes sodomy a crime punishable by up to four years in prison [but see next item]. The bill, which defines sodomy broadly as "the cohabitation between individuals of the same sex," was passed by the National Assembly on June 11 and sent to Chamorro, who signed the legislation on July 8 without informing either the press or the opposition Sandinista block. ."(IGLHRC Press Release August 7, 1992)

"Amended Article 205 (now Article 204 of the reformed Penal Code) provides that "anyone who induces, promotes, propagandizes or practices in scandalous form sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex commits the crime of sodomy and shall incur 1 to 3 years imprisonment". It also states that if one of the people engaging in sexual intercourse is in a position of power or authority over the other, even if in private, s/he will be punishable with 2 to 4 years in prison for unlawful seduction." (Amnesty International Update 14 August 1992)

The original Spanish text of Article 204 is as follows:
"Publicado en la Gaceta, Diario Oficial, No. 174 del 9 de septiembre de 1992, cuyo Arto. 5 dice, en su encabezado y en su párrafo final:

"Se reforma el Capitulo IX, Titulo I del Libro del Código Penal, el que se leerá así: .... Arto. 204: Comete delito de SODOMIA el que induzca, promueva, propagandice o practique en forma escandalosa el concúbito entre personas del mismo sexo. Sufrirá de 1 a 3 años de prisión. Cuando uno de los que lo practican, aún en privado, tuviese sobre otro el poder disciplinario o de mando, como ascendiente, quardador, maestro, jefe, guardián, o en cualquier otro concepto que implique influencia de autoridad o de dirección moral, se le aplicará la pena de seducción ilegítima, como único responsable." (Provided by Fundación Xochiquetzal to Swedish Foreign Office/RFSL survey October 1997)

Nicaraguan Supreme Court Rejects Sodomy Law Appeal: On March 7, Nicaragua’s Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to an anti-gay law—Article 204 of the Penal Code...The appeal was presented in October 1992 by a group of about 30 Nicaraguans including lawyers, lesbian and gay people, AIDS educators and human rights activists. With the high court’s decision, made more than a year and a half after the appeal was filed, the law will now become enforceable.
The court rejected 5-2 the plaintiffs’ claims that the law violated Constitutional provisions for all Nicaraguans to enjoy unconditional equality and to exercise all political rights. The court upheld the law on the grounds that "[t]o authorize the performance and freedom of sodomy would be a legal attack against the increase of the Nicaraguan population, a step back for its political, economic and social advancement, due to the lack of men and women to push Nicaragua’s progress forward. One cannot attack matrimony..."
The feminist magazine La Boletina notes that this precedent provides legal grounds for "[f]orbidding kisses, masturbation, premarital relations, cohabitation among unmarried people, and the use of contraceptives... They’d have to put almost the whole population of the country in jail!!!" [Court Brief, Corte Suprema de Justicia, Managua, Sentencia No. 18, 3/7/94; La Boletina (Managua) No. 16, March-April-May ‘94 edition](Nicaragua Solidarity Network of NY - Wkly Update on the Americas #235 7/31/94)


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