LGBT+ people to be stoned or whipped to death in Brunei under new sex law
Amnesty International condemn heinous’ rules introduced as part of Sharia reforms in tiny kingdom
Brunei is set to permit the stoning and whipping to death of LGBT+ people under a series of reforms to its penal code that are attracting international condemnation.
New laws due to come into effect next Wednesday will see the tiny kingdom become the first nation in southeast Asia to impose the death penalty for those found engaging in same-sex intercourse.
Homosexuality was already illegal and carried a long jail sentence in Brunei. However, the country is in the process of introducing a Sharia Law-style system for criminal punishment.
Human rights groups have denounced the move, including Amnesty International, which described the new punishments as “heinous” and “inhumane”.
It said same-sex relations would become a capital offence that could be carried out by whipping or stoning.
Amnesty warned other new laws would permit amputation as a punishment for robbery or theft a sentence that would also be carried out on children.
“Some of the potential offences’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a Brunei researcher for the organisation.
“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its penal code in compliance with its human rights obligations.
“The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who rules Brunei by absolute monarchy, first introduced measures under the Sharia Penal Code in 2014, imposing fines or jail terms for offences such as pregnancy out of wedlock or failing to pray on Fridays.
However, laws targeting LGBT+ people were shelved following international protests, including a boycott of the Sultan’s exclusive Beverly Hills Hotel in California.
But it appears the monarch will now implement the legislation, which he has in the past said should be regarded as “special guidance” from god.
Around two thirds of the oil-rich nation’s 417,000 inhabitants are Muslim, while it is also home to significant Christian and Buddhist communities.
There has been no vocal opposition to the new rules in Brunei, where public criticism of the Sultan and his policies are extremely rare.
The country has long been known for conservative policies such as banning the sale of alcohol and it already issues caning as a punishment under secular laws for several crimes including immigration offences.