Brunei to punish gay sex with stoning to death

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

The tiny Southeast Asian nation of Brunei brings into force on Wednesday harsh sharia laws, including death by stoning for gay sex and adultery, that has sparked an worldwide outcry and fears among some citizens.

The British government on Thursday said Brunei's introduction of harsh new shariah laws, including death by stoning for adultery and gay sex, was "a backward step" for the southeast Asian country.

Ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the small nation had already made homosexuality punishable by 10 years imprisonment, but these new strict teachings have incited feat into the Brunei public and elsewhere.

In a statement to Newsweek via email, the worldwide human rights organization Amnesty global condemned the new laws before they came into effect.

Under the new Islamic criminal laws in Brunei, 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.

Brunei has been condemned by various countries and imminent personalities including actor George Clooney and Elton John, for implementing the law.


"The United States strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination targeting vulnerable groups, including women at risk of violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons".

This is not the first time Hollywood has called for a boycott of the two hotels because of Brunei's punitive legal system.

The newly enacted laws constitute the final parts of a penal code announced by the sultan in 2013, the first phase of which was enacted in 2014.

France and Australia also called on Brunei to renounce the measures, with both governments expressing concern. TV host Ellen DeGeneres also called for people to "rise up", saying "we need to do something now".

In a statement Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said that governments have an "obligation to ensure that all people, including LGBTI people, can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled".

Muslims make up about two-thirds of the country's population of 420 000.


"We are all human beings with a right to live in freedom".

The revision of Brunei's penal code expands the crimes that can be punished by death to include rape, extramarital sex for Muslims, robbery, and insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

The United Nations also issued a statement urging Brunei to stop enforcing its new "draconian" penal code, with its High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet calling it "a serious setback for human rights protections for the people of Brunei if implemented".

The sharia laws have triggered worldwide reaction, and Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, described the code as "barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that should´t even be crimes".

The city controller, Ron Galperin, said he was "outraged and horrified" by the law and posted photos of Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel with a red X through them.


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