Brunei’s first ‘gay’ crime since introduction of Sharia law

sharia law brunei first gay crime
Brunei flag

A Magistrate’s Court hearing on Sunday indicted a man charged with Brunei’s first ‘gay’ crime since the 2019 introduction of Sharia law. The court remanded the man for further investigation. Brunei’s implementation of Sharia law in regard to sexual ‘crimes’ threatened punishments including the death penalty for gay sex. The autocratic Sultan of Brunei later announced a moratorium on the death penalty after global protests.

The Borneo Bulletin reports the Magistrate’s Court indicted a permanent resident on charges of hiring two men for sexual services.

The Magistrate’s Court cannot impose the death sentence for a sexual crime. That remains the realm of the Sharia courts.

Sources tell QNews the man is a local Malay.

On 18 December, the defendant allegedly obtained sexual services in return for the payment of money. In addition to not paying the man, the defendant stole three items of clothing from him.

Then on 25 December, he allegedly repeated his action with a second victim. This time, he again stole three items of clothing but also a Samsung S6 phone.

The man risks a jail term of three years, a fine, or both for each of the theft charges. It appears other charges relate to either procuring the men for sex or for the actual sex acts. Those additional charges carry the risk of one year in prison and a fine for a single conviction. However, every subsequent conviction is punished with a three-year jail term and an increased fine.

Sharia Court

Despite the sexual aspect of the case, it was heard before a magistrate, not in the Sharia Court.

Sharia Courts are sitting in Brunei. Also on Sunday, a man convicted of stealing a jacket from a shop received a sentence of four month’s jail. Another man who stole an iPhone XS received an eight-month sentence. The Borneo Bulletin reports the Sharia High Court heard both cases.

There has been no mention of charges against the two men who supplied the sexual services to the man charged in the Magistrate’s Court.

The magistrate adjourned the case until 8 January.

The only recent, known execution of a person for same-sex activity reportedly occurred in Iran on 6 December. Social media reports suggest the Islamic Republic executed renowned Kurdish singer Mohsen Lorestani on that date. Recent protests saw many Kurds and other Iranians murdered by the regime. The ayatollahs also disrupted the internet within the country during the protests and official verification of Mohsen’s death has not been forthcoming.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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