Widespread condemnation for laws in Brunei punishing gay sex and adultery by stoning

epa07103690 Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei arrives for the 12th Asem, Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 19 October 2018. Heads of state and governments from 51 European and Asian countries will discuss on the theme 'Europe and Asia: global partners for global challenges'. EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

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New Islamic criminal laws in Brunei punishing gay sex and adultery by stoning offenders to death have triggered international outcry.

Homosexuality was already punishable in Brunei by a jail term of up to 10 years. But now under new sections of Brunei’s Shariah Penal Code – which apply to children and foreigners, even if they are not Muslim – those found guilty of gay sex could be stoned to death or whipped.

Adulterers risk death by stoning too, while thieves face amputation of a right hand on their first offence and a left foot on their second.

The laws, which also call for the amputation of limbs for thieves, make Brunei the first country in East or South-east Asia to implement the harsh Islamic legal code at the national level. Sharia is practised to varying degrees in some countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

Muslims make up about two-thirds of the country’s population of 420,000. Brunei has retained the death penalty but has not carried out an execution since 1957.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei said he wants to see Islamic teachings in this country grow stronger.

Sultan Hassanal heads the Brunei Investment Agency, which owns some of the world’s top hotels including the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

There has been international condemnation of the legal revisions pushed by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world’s richest men who has wielded power in the tiny tropical nation for nearly five decades. Germany, France and the United States have condemned the new laws as incompatible with Brunei’s human rights commitments and called for the sultan to reverse implementation.

Celebrities including actor George Clooney, pop star Elton John and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres have led calls for a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels.

Via The Guardian

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