- The southeast Asian kingdom of Brunei now punishes homosexuality with death by stoning, under news laws introduced on Wednesday.
- Being gay has been illegal in the small oil-rich state since 1984, but it adopted a strict, Islamic law code in 2014. It has now taken full effect.
- Under the new laws sodomy, adultery, and rape merit the death penalty. Theft is punished by amputating the right hand, and amputating the left foot for a second offence.
- A call to boycott products and services from Brunei came from stars like George Clooney and Elton John in the wake of the announcement.
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The southeast Asian kingdom of Brunei now punishes homosexuality with death by stoning, under laws that came into force on Wednesday.
The new laws, issued as a direct order from the country’s leaderSultan HassanalBolkiah, state that homosexuality, sodomy, adultery, and rape offences will be punished with the death penalty, according to Amnesty International.
Death penalties ordered for these offences will be carried out by stoning, and will also apply to children.
Homosexuality has been illegal for the 423,000 people living in the state – officially known as “Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace” – since its formal independence from British rule in 1984.
The move is an example of how the tiny Muslim nation is moving toward a stricter interpretation of Islam, which Sultan Bolkiah announced Brunei would be pursuing in 2014 when he changed the penal code.
Also included in the new reforms are harsher penalties for theft: the amputation of the right hand for a first offence, and a left foot amputation for a second offence.
All of the new laws require multiple Muslim witnesses to crimes for the penalties to be upheld. In practice, this can make sexual crimes difficult to prosecute.
The oil-rich nation on the north-west coast of the island of Borneo, in the Indonesian Archipelago, is ruled by a Sultan, currently Bolkiah, who is one of the world’s richest heads of state, with a net worth of around $US20 billion.
The Kingdom punishes many crimes harshly, with some drug offences meriting the death penalty.
Alcohol is banned, and having children before marriage or failing to pray on a Friday are acts punishable with jail time, the Guardian reported.
A call to boycott products and services owned by Brunei came from stars like George Clooney and Elton John in the wake of the new laws being announced.
Amnesty researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said: “To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself. Some of the potential “offences” should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender.”
Brunei has yet to ratify the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
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