Brunei again plans to execute gays

Sunday, 31 Mar, 2019

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.

In Brunei, homosexuality is already illegal but with this, it now becomes a capital offence. 67% of Brunei's population is Muslim and therefore, they follow the Sharia law under a Sultan.

HONG KONG - When Brunei announced in 2013 that it was bringing in harsh Islamic laws that included punishments of death by stoning for adultery and gay sex, the move was met with global protest.

LGBTQ is set to be criminalized and punishable by death once new laws roll in Brunei next week.

The renewed code, which is aimed at reflecting Islam's tenets of morality and punishment for those who break them, will include caning and even stoning to death of Muslims, who are found guilty of adultery, sodomy and rape.

The first phase introduced fines and jail terms for offences such as indecent behaviour, failure to attend Friday prayers, and falling pregnant outside of wedlock.

There were no official announcements made about setting the laws in motion apart from a notice published on the Attorney General's website.

In 2014, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, who also acts as the country's prime minister first announced the strict laws under a strict Syariah law that has been on hold for four years due to heavy criticism.

Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, said that children could also face the brutal punishments, adding that the new legislation was "flawed".

Brunei's sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, 72, rules with full executive authority and has supported the monarchy's adoption of a more conservative Islamic culture, including a ban on alcohol sales, according to CNN.

"Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its penal code in compliance with its human rights obligations", Chhoa-Howard said.

Global organisations have called to slam such actions, asking the Sultan (Monarch) of this oil-rich nation to get laws in adherence with the worldwide standards of human rights laws.

Human rights groups have urged Brunei to rethink introducing the harsher penalties.

Adoption of the other two sections of the Islamic law had been delayed five years ago due to global outcry but will be now be coming into force on April 3.