Brunei introduces death by stoning for adultery, gay sex

Brunei introduces death by stoning for adultery, gay sex

Brunei introduces death by stoning for adultery, gay sex

The tough sharia penal code in the tiny country on tropical Borneo island - ruled by the all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah - came into force Wednesday following years of delays.

Before the new legal regime commenced, homosexuality was illegal and punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment, but under the changes Brunei has become the first Asian country to make homosexuality punishable by death.

New Zealanders in Brunei are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with and observe local law and customs, including Shariah law, the advice on MFAT's Safetravel website states.

Rape and robbery are also punishable by death under the code and numerous new laws, such as capital punishment for insulting the Prophet Mohammed, apply to non-Muslims as well as Muslims.

The controversial proposal has provoked strong opposition worldwide, and actor George Clooney called for the immediate boycott of hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Group, which is controlled by the Sultan of Brunei, in an op-ed he wrote for Deadline. Brunei had then delayed introducing the final two phases, which cover crimes punishable by amputation and stoning.

Before the implementation of the new sharia code on 3 April, gay sex was already outlawed in Brunei under Section 377 of the country's penal code, which prohibited "sexual intercourse against the order of nature".

Field faced calls from some lawmakers for the Commonwealth, a bloc of former British colonies, to consider expelling Brunei over the code. Ellen DeGeneres posted a tweet on Tuesday asking her followers to "spread the word" and "rise up".

Almost two-thirds of Malaysia's 32 million people are Muslim. Therefore, the small monarchy of Brunei is notifying the world that Islamic Sharia law will take clear precedence over worldwide human rights.

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".

Woolfe organised Brunei's first ever LGBT event - a 2016 gathering at a hotel in the sultanate to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia - and was subsequently barred from visiting the country.

Not surprisingly governments and rights groups around the world are slamming Brunei's introduction of these crimes and punishments into its own local code of Sharia law.

However, it wasn't until last week that the U.S. State Department said it was "concerned" by the new laws going into effect on Wednesday.

The New York Times reports that a person can be convicted of adultery or having gay sex only if there are multiple Muslim witnesses.

The baroness said Brunei had "committed itself to upholding the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter which underscores a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights covenants and global instruments".

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