Brunei will now punish gay sex and adultery with death by stoning thanks to a new penal code inspired by sharia law. (The Guardian)
From 3 April, people in the tiny south-east Asian kingdom will be subjected to a draconian new penal code, which also includes the amputation of a hand and a foot for the crime of theft. To be convicted, the crimes must be “witnessed by a group of Muslims”.
Brunei, which has adopted a more conservative form of Islam in recent years, first announced in 2013 its intention to introduce sharia law, the Islamic legal system that imposes strict corporal punishments.
It was a directive of the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, who is one of the world’s richest leaders with a personal wealth of about $20bn (£15bn) and has held the throne since 1967. He described the implementation of the new penal code as “a great achievement”.
Alcohol is already banned in Brunei, as are showy Christmas celebrations, and there are fines and jail sentences for having children out of wedlock and failing to pray on a Friday. However, a heavy international backlash against Brunei imposing some of the more brutal sharia punishments has slowed their full implementation over the past five years.
Brunei’s sharia law applies to Muslims, for now, who comprise two-thirds of the country’s population.