Brunei brings in death by stoning as punishment for gay sex

  28 March 2019    Read: 695
Brunei brings in death by stoning  as  punishment  for gay sex

From 3 April, people in the tiny south-east Asian kingdom will be subject to a draconian new penal code based on sharia law

Brunei is to begin imposing death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex and adultery from next week, as part of the country’s highly criticised implementation of sharia law.

From 3 April, individuals in the tiny southeast Asian kingdom will be subject to a draconian new penal code, which also includes the amputation of a hand and a foot for the crime of theft. The capital punishments are to be “witnessed by a group of Muslims.”

Brunei, which has adopted a more conservative form of Islam in recent years, first announced back in 2014 its intention to introduce sharia law, the Islamic legal system which imposes strict corporal punishments. It was a directive of the Sultan of Brunei, who is one of the world’s richest leaders with a personal wealth of about $20bn and has held the throne since 1967.

Alcohol is already banned in Brunei and there are fines and jail sentences for having children out of wedlock and failing to pray on a Friday. However, a heavy international backlash against Brunei imposing some of the more brutal sharia punishments has slowed their full implementation over the past five years.

Brunei was a British colony until 1984 and the two countries still enjoy strong ties. Homosexuality had been illegal in Brunei since British colonial rule but under the new laws it is now punishable by death rather than prison, which will also apply to sodomy, adultery and rape.

The announcement that sharia law is to be rolled out from next week, specifically targeting the gay community, was met with horror by human rights groups. Amnesty International urged Brunei to “immediately halt” implementing the new penalties, which they said were “deeply flawed”.

“To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself,” Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement, adding that some of the potential offences “should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender”.

The sharia law would apply only to Muslims, who make up about two-thirds of the population.


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