Brunei to punish gay sex, adultery with death by stoning – National

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New Islamic legal legal guidelines that took impact in Brunei on Wednesday, punishing homosexual intercourse and adultery by stoning offenders to demise, have triggered an outcry from nations, rights teams and celebrities far past the tiny Southeast Asian nation’s shores.

The penalties have been supplied for beneath new sections of Brunei’s Shariah Penal Code. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah instituted the code in 2014 to bolster the affect of Islam within the oil-rich monarchy of round 430,000 folks, two-thirds of whom are Muslim.


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Even earlier than 2014, homosexuality was already punishable in Brunei by a jail time period of as much as 10 years. The primary stage of the Shariah Penal Code included fines or jail for offences resembling being pregnant out of wedlock or failing to wish on Fridays.

However beneath the brand new legal guidelines – which apply to kids and foreigners, even when they aren’t Muslim – these discovered responsible of homosexual intercourse may be stoned to demise or whipped. Adulterers danger demise by stoning too, whereas thieves face amputation of a proper hand on their first offence and a left foot on their second.

“Dwelling in Brunei, we already knew that our sexual id is taboo and shouldn’t be expressed. We already felt belittled earlier than the regulation got here to put,” mentioned a 23-year-old member of the LGBTQ neighborhood who wished to be recognized solely as Kun out of worry of reprisal from the authorities.

“Now with it, we really feel even smaller and those who might probably oppress us have extra alternative to harass us to say and do what they need,” he mentioned.

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Celebrities together with George Clooney, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres have voiced opposition to the brand new legal guidelines, and have rallied a boycott of 9 accommodations within the U.S. and Europe with ties to Hassanal, who remains to be sultan.

“Are we actually going to assist fund the homicide of harmless residents?” Clooney wrote Thursday on Deadline Hollywood.

Clooney mentioned that when you can’t disgrace “murderous regimes,” you’ll be able to disgrace “the banks, the financiers and the establishments that do enterprise with them.”

There was no vocal opposition to the brand new penalties in Brunei, the place the sultan guidelines as head of state with full govt authority. Public criticism of his insurance policies is extraordinarily uncommon within the nation.

Hassanal, who has reigned since 1967, has beforehand mentioned the Penal Code must be considered a type of “particular steerage” from God and can be “a part of the nice historical past” of Brunei.

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On Tuesday, the US joined the UK, Germany and France in urging Brunei to halt its plans.

“America strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination focusing on susceptible teams, together with girls prone to violence, spiritual and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals,” State Division deputy spokesman Robert Palladino mentioned in an announcement.

Brunei’s Southeast Asian neighbours, a few of whom have legal guidelines banning intercourse between males, have been silent.

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However LGBTQ residents of different close by Muslim-majority nations have been involved in regards to the broad penalties.

“I’m very apprehensive that Indonesia or Malaysia could observe the lead,” mentioned a 24-year-old man from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, who wished to be recognized solely by his first identify, Ludwig. “I feel folks these days, particularly the youthful technology, are fairly OK with LGBT, however those that will not be make the loudest noise and they’re the rationale why it looks like everyone seems to be towards it.”

Almost two-thirds of Malaysia’s 32 million individuals are Muslim. They’re ruled by Islamic courts in household, marriage and private points. Final 12 months, two Malaysian Muslim girls have been convicted beneath Islamic legal guidelines and caned for making an attempt to have intercourse with one another.

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Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Brunei’s authorities to “cease the entry into power of this Draconian new penal code.”

“Any religion-based laws should not violate human rights, together with the rights of these belonging to the bulk faith in addition to of spiritual minorities and non-believers,” she mentioned in an announcement on Monday.

Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, referred to as on the sultan to “instantly droop amputations, stoning, and all different rights-abusing provisions and punishments.”

“Brunei’s new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes,” Robertson mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday.

Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty Worldwide, decried the “vicious” legal guidelines and requested the worldwide neighborhood to sentence them.

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