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Brunei Becomes First Country To Put Death Penalty For Gay Sex

Brunei Becomes First Country To Put Death Penalty For Gay Sex

Brunei has begun to implement a new Sharia-based penal code. It will soon impose death by stoning as a possible punishment for crimes including rape, adultery, and same-sex activity.

Brunei is a former British protectorate nestled between two Malaysian states on Borneo island. The population of 400,000 — 67% of whom are Muslim and therefore subject to the Sharia law — is ruled by a sultan.

Brunei was the first East Asian country to introduce Islamic criminal law in 2014. They announced the first of three stages of legal changes that included fines or jail. That included offences like pregnancy outside marriage or failing to pray on Friday.

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Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who is also the prime minister, called the law a “great achievement” for the Southeast Asian country.

“The decision to implement the (penal code) is not for fun but is to obey Allah’s command as written in the Quran,” he said in a speech Wednesday, announcing the launch. The Sultan was also quoted as saying 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.”

What pro-LGBT campaigners think

Previously homosexuality was illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. But the changes would allow whipping and stoning to death for Muslims. It will be implemented if they guilty of adultery, sodomy and rape, said human rights groups.

“We are trying to get pressure placed on the government of Brunei but realize there is a very short time frame until the laws take effect,” the Australia-based campaigner said, calling on governments to step up diplomatic pressure on Brunei.

“It took us by surprise that the government has now given a date and is rushing through implementation,” he said.

Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch 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”.

He added: “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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Brunei’s Sultan is no stranger to controversy at home. The monarchy was deeply embarrassed by a family feud with his brother Jefri. He alleged embezzlement of $15 billion during his tenure as finance minister in the 1990s.

Court battles and investigations revealed salacious details of Jefri’s un-Islamic lifestyle. That included claims of a high-priced harem of foreign women and a luxury yacht he owned called “Tits”.

Source – yahoo.com, abc.net.au, reuters.com, msnbc.com

 

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