Amnesty: Brunei must stop plans to punish gay sex with ‘death by stoning’


brunei sultan hassanal bolkiah
Photo: YouTube

Human rights groups including Amnesty International have called on the south-east Asian nation of Brunei to abandon plans to introduce new laws within days that would punish gay sex with death by stoning.

The country’s strict new sharia law Penal Code will come into effect from next Wednesday (April 3), according to government documents released in December that have only just now come to the attention of human rights groups.

Advertisements

Brunei first introduced Islamic criminal law in 2014 when it announced the first of three stages of legal reforms at the order of the country’s long-reigning Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (pictured), but delayed some of the more brutal punishments – including the death penalty for homosexuality and the amputation of a hand and foot for theft – after an international backlash.

Now Amnesty International has urged Brunei to “immediately halt” the new legislation, which the group has slammed as “inhuman” and “deeply flawed”.

“Pending provisions in Brunei’s Penal Code would allow stoning and amputation as punishments – including for children, to name only their most heinous aspects,” Amnesty International’s Brunei researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said.

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

“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations.

“To legalise 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.

“The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

The new sharia Penal Code would apply only to Muslims, who comprise around two-thirds of Brunei’s population of around 450,000 people.
 

QN Magazine | For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.