Brunei Darussalam to pass law that will punish homosexuality with death

Brunei Darussalam to pass law that will punish homosexuality with death
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei. Picture: EPA/YONHAP.

Brunei Darussalam will bring into effect a new law next week which will punish homosexual intercourse and adultery with death by stoning.

As of April 3, the new penal law means that any individuals found guilty of homosexual acts will be stoned to death. It also means that anyone found guilty of theft will be subject to amputation.

Under international human rights law, corporal punishment in all forms, such as stoning, amputation, or whipping constitutes torture which is prohibited in all circumstances.

However, Brunei Darussalam, a country with a population of over 428,000, has rejected all recommendations in its human rights review at the United Nations in 2015 after it voiced deep concern about the revised penal code.

A notice was discreetly published on the Attorney General's website on January 29.

Brunei Darussalam to pass law that will punish homosexuality with death

Amnesty International Brunei Researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard condemned the inhumane punishment:

"Pending provisions in Brunei's Penal Code would allow stoning and amputation as punishments- including for children, to name only their most heinous aspects.

"Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations. The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

In 2013, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced the country would be imposing Penal Code from Sharia Law on the country's Muslims, making it the first East-Asian country to do so. The death penalty is currently stipulated for a number of offences, including insult or defamation of Mohammed.

Ms Chhoa-Hoawrd added:

To legalize 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

“These abusive provisions received widespread condemnation when plans were first discussed five years ago.

“Brunei’s Penal Code is a deeply flawed piece of legislation containing a range of provisions that violate human rights.

“As well as imposing cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, it blatantly restricts the rights to freedom of expression, religion, and belief, and codifies discrimination against women and girls.”

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