People in Brunei who engage in gay sex and adultery can be stoned to death under a new law

The Straits Times

Individuals in Brunei who engage in gay sex and adultery can be stoned to death under a new law which comes into effect on April 3.

Under the new penal code, the punishment will be “witnessed by a group of Muslims“, reported CNN.

According to The Guardian, homosexuality in Brunei is currently punished with imprisonment. But under the new law, it is now punishable by death – and so are sodomy, adultery and rape.

In 2014, the oil-rich nation announced its intention to introduce the Islamic legal system of Sharia law, Business Insider reported.

The decision was a directive of Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, who has held the throne since 1967 and is one of the world’s richest leaders with a personal wealth of about US$20 billion, reported The Guardian.

The penal code – which will also order amputation as a punishment for theft – very quickly drew controversy as human rights groups expressed horror at the decision.

“To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself,” Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International said.

According to Amnesty, these legal changes will allow stoning and amputation as punishments for children as well.

Chhoa-Howard said: “Some of the potential ‘offences’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender.”

“The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

According to The Guardians’ report, Brunei has already imposed bans on alcohol, and fines and jail sentences for having children out of wedlock and failing to pray on a Friday.

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