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Brunei Enacts New Penal Law To Punish Gay Sex, Adultery With Stoning To Death

Brunei, a tiny nation on the island of Borneo today (April 3, 2019) introduced a new penal law to punish adultery and gay sex with stoning to death.

The new law was introduced by the Ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah despite a storm of global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups.

The laws, which also include amputation of hands and feet for thieves, make Brunei the first place in East or Southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level, joining several mostly Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Rape and robbery are also punishable by death under the code and many of the new laws, such as capital punishment for insulting the Prophet Mohammed, apply to non-Muslims as well as Muslims.

The move enacting the new law has sparked alarm around the world, with the United Nations labelling them “cruel and inhumane” and celebrities, led by actor George Clooney and pop star Elton John, calling for Brunei-owned hotels to be boycotted.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch also condemned the code and described it as “barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn't even be crimes.”

Further, the European Union said in a statement that some of the new punishments “amount to torture, acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” Before the new laws, sex between men was already illegal in Brunei and punishable with up to 10 years in jail.


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