December 21, 2023
We live in a hyperconnected and constantly evolving world, making it impossible to overlook the impact of liberty and rights in the world around us. Which countries still apply the death penalty or punish same-sex preferences? Let’s examine how laws evolve and set the strictest rules for their populations.

Countries With Harsh Punishments

Each country moves at a very different pace according to various historical factors and values; its legislation affects how individuals co-exist in society, which is why we can take them as an example in terms of legislation to follow up on endless issues related to the practice of law.

The tightening of laws touches all or almost all branches of law, from human rights to law development, free speech, environment, and diversity, among many others. This time, we will draw a general landscape of how stricter undermine the capacities of society.

Countries With The Least Stringent Laws 

While Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and New Zealand are worldwide often pointed as some of the various countries with the highest democracy and freedom of expression standards, there are still others that believe in strict laws and restrictions to keep progress and order, stability or the conception they might have of it. 

We can talk about the strictest countries and their harshest punishments; we will find out that their legal penalties can often be very severe, ranging from monetary fines to physical punishments and even imprisonment. Some countries have similar types of penalties and consider similar behaviours illegal, these can often relate to sexuality, demonstrations of care or love, and freedom of speech.

Countries With Punishments For Same-sex Preferences

Still hard to believe for many nowadays, and an area of opportunity to work for many others, several countries continue to impose severe penalties for same-sex relations or for having specific sexual preferences, including corporal penalties, lengthy imprisonment, fines, or even capital punishment in some cases.

Where is it that same-sex relations or specific sexual preferences could lead to severe legal consequences? 

  • Nigeria
  • Brunei
  • Malawi
  • Mauritania
  • Saudi Arabia  
  • Iran
  • Yemen
  • Afghanistan
  • Uganda
  • Qatar
  • Pakistan
  • UAE
  • Somalia
  • Sudan

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Where Is Blasphemy Considered Illegal?

Some of the laws considered the most restricted are linked to the punishment of blasphemy. Actions considered offensive or disrespectful to religious beliefs or figures are still considered illegal in the following list of countries:

  • Afghanistan 
  • Nigeria
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Pakistan
  • Iran
  • Indonesia
  • Egypt

Blasphemy against Islam or insulting religion is illegal under specific provisions of the penal code and can result in imprisonment in some of these countries above, which mainly prophesies this doctrine. Legal applications vary from country to country, but it could lead to execution in the case of Saudi Arabia or life imprisonment in Pakistan.

Which Country Is Stricter, Singapore Or North Korea?

The adherence to obedience values, rooted in the historical legacies of emperors, kings, and military doctrines shaping Asian modern societies, has led to the establishment of stringent legislation. This legislation aims to maintain harmony, reduce crime rates, and regulate actions perceived as anti-governmental.

Though their legal systems are different, Singapore and North Korea appear constantly in the ranks of countries with the strictest laws, but for reasons we must distinguish. 

With nearly 5 million inhabitants, Singapore pops in every ranking of countries with the strictest laws. Not only is feeding pigeons, singing songs with obscene lyrics, and public smoking or chewing gum banned, but they also have some of the harshest anti-littering laws. These are followed impeccably to maintain public spaces clean, with penalties reaching up to $10,000 Singapore dollars for dropping or spilling substances. 

One of the primary laws known and, of course, followed are the ones related to their zero tolerance towards drugs; drug possession, consumption, trafficking or importation penalties go from up to 10 years of imprisonment, fines and even the death penalty.

Singapore imposes the death penalty for certain drug-related offences; these drugs include heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, among others. The Misuse of Drugs Act lists specific amounts of various drugs that, if exceeded, can result in the mandatory death penalty upon conviction. 

Singapore would differ from another frequent ranker, North Korea, as the strictness of their laws is mainly tight to maintaining social order visible in public spaces and cleanliness rather than pervasive control over personal freedoms. 

Although everything we know of the North Korean system comes from international organisations, we surely know their policies operate under a highly controlled, authoritarian regime that dictates many aspects of its citizens’ lives. 

They are known for extreme censorship, restriction of civil liberties (controlling clothing choices, hairstyles, and even the music or entertainment they consume), limited access to information (citizens are only allowed access to state-controlled media), restricted travel (permits are required to travel between regions, and leaving the country without government authorisation is considered illegal). There are also severe consequences for dissent or perceived disloyalty, which can lead to penalties as forced labour or detention.

Countries With The Strictest Laws

Taking into account the points treated above as well as sources such as The World Report of Human Rights Watch, we can list some of the countries that still defy the freedom of their populations through their stringent legal systems:

  • Brunei
  • China
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Singapore
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Russia
  • Syria
  • Qatar

This overview aims to provide insights into the legal ramifications faced by individuals residing under these stringent laws. Mapping the events and punishments in these countries can shed light on this critical global issue, encouraging further examination that could potentially improve the quality of life for millions.


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