Adultery And Gay sex In Brunei To Be Made Punishable By Death

A harsh new penal code is said to be implemented by the tiny sultanate, Brunei, in which adultery and gay sex will be subject to death by stoning from next week, authorities said. This law comes under a strict Sharia law which came up four years ago but was put on hold due to heavy criticism. In 2013, the measures were announced but implementation was delayed as officials worked out the practical details and also since rights groups were in opposition with the measure. If it becomes a law, Brunei will become the only country in Southeast Asia to punish gay sex with death.

The new penal code came also with a new penalty for theft. The penalty is amputation of the right hand for a first offense, and the left foot for a second offense. Brunei researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said in a statement: “To legalize such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself … Some of the potential ‘offenses’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender.”

However, on Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the Brunei religious affairs ministry said that Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah was expected to only make an announcement on April 3 regarding the implementation of the new Sharia laws. “Only after the event we will know regarding the date of the implementation of the new laws,” he told AFP Wednesday. “In terms of readiness, at the moment we are prepared to enforce the amputation of the hand for stealing only. That is all.”

Deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson, warned that implementation of the law “will quickly drive the country towards human rights pariah status in the eyes of foreign investors, tourists, and international agencies.” “If this ill-considered plan goes forward, there is every reason to believe the global boycott Brunei movement will re-start.”

 

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