One more country moves to sharia; after April 3, gay sex and adultery punishable with death by stoning

Muslims in Brunei can now be put to death for gay sex, sodomy, rape and adultery as the Southeast Asian kingdom continues a gradual move toward sharia law.

According to the nation’s penal code, any Muslim caught in one of the forbidden acts after April 3 can be punished by stoning, according to The Guardian.

(Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

The crimes must be “witnessed by a group of Muslims,” according to the code which also mandates that those guilty of theft have a hand or a foot amputated. The new laws, which were introduced in 2014, have been gradually implemented in the oil-rich nation that is home to about 430,000 people.

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, defended the implementation of sharia law in his nation, which he called “a great achievement,” saying in a statement that his government “does not expect other people to accept and agree with it, but that it would suffice if they just respect the nation in the same way that it also respects them.”

(Image: Sultan’s Mosque, YouTube screenshot)

With an estimated fortune of about $20 billion, Bolkiah – who also acts as the country’s prime minister – has been on the throne since 1967 in the country that was a British colony until 1984. The two countries still maintain a strong relationship.

According to The Guardian:

Alcohol is already banned in Brunei, as are showy Christmas celebrations, 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.

In 2014, Brunei’s promises to implement sharia law prompted protests in Los Angeles, outside the famed Beverley Hills hotel and Hotel Bel Air, both of which were owned by the oil-rich nation. The hotels were accused of the “height of hypocrisy” for offering packages to LGBT couples, while being bankrolled by a country that has condemned homosexuals to death.

 

When details of the strict corporal punishments were announced by the nation’s attorney general in December, the backlash was immediate as human rights groups condemned the draconian laws and urged Brunei to “immediately halt” implementing the “deeply flawed” penalties, according to the Guardian.

“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations,” Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

“As well as imposing cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, it blatantly restricts the rights to freedom of expression, religion and belief, and codifies discrimination against women and girls. To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself,” Chhoa-Howard said, adding that some of the offenses “should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender.”

Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s international development secretary, called the law “barbaric,” according to the Guardian.

“No one should face the death penalty because of who they love. Brunei’s decision is barbaric and the UK stands with the LGBT community and those who defend their rights. LGBT rights are human rights,” Mordaunt said.

Condemnation for the nation’s decision was loud and clear on social media.

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Frieda Powers

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