Brunei introduce law that makes gay sex punishable by stoning to death

A newlywed couple at the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan the capital of Brunei where laws are taking effect

A newlywed couple at the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan the capital of Brunei where laws are taking effect

Before 2014, Homosexuality was punishable in Brunei, if caught, one can serve 10 years in jail.

The threat of the death penalty is apparently chiefly aimed at gay men, although experts are doubtful that executions will actually be carried out.

She said: "No-one should ever be discriminated against for being gay and I am horrified that in 2019 a country is introducing new laws which could potentially put people to death simply because of who they love". Still, many think the Sultan's new penal laws are cruel and extremely old-fashioned for anyone found guilty. Brunei's new Islamic-inspired laws also mandate corporal punishment for robbery and drinking alcohol.

The law will make sex between men punishable by stoning to death, while sex between women will incur a maximum punishment of 40 strokes of the cane or a 10-year jail term.

Oscar-winning actor George Clooney has called for a boycott of luxury hotels owned by Brunei, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, because of the country's plans to impose the punishments.

Brunei's ruling royals possess a huge private fortune and its largely ethnic-Malay population enjoy generous state handouts and pay no taxes.

Customers at two prestigious Paris hotels owned by the sultan expressed their support for a boycott.

Other countries like Saudi Arabia and some Middle Eastern countries also follow sharia law. "Inclusion and diversity remain core beliefs as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination", Quartz reports.

"So long as people face criminalisation, bias and violence based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, we must redouble our efforts to end these violations", said Guterres' spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

The small Islam-dominant kingdom is the first country in the east or southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level.

Travellers on their way to Brunei could be subject to the country's newly implemented full sharia penal code, under which people could be executed for adultery, gay sex and blasphemy.

For example, Part 4, Chapter 1, Section 55 of the code states that the punishment for "sariqah" (theft) is amputation of the right hand for a first offense, amputation of the left foot for a second offense, and a prison sentence of up to 15 years for the third offense, where the item stolen is valued above a certain threshold.

But on Saturday, the government released a statement on its website saying the Sharia penal code would be fully implemented on Wednesday.

LGBTQ citizens of other nearby Muslim-majority countries were concerned about the broad new penalties in Brunei.

"To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself", said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a Brunei researcher at Amnesty International.

Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director for Human Rights Watch, said: "This kind of law doesn't belong in the 21st century".

In a strongly worded statement, Bachelet said the law's introduction would "mark a serious setback for human rights protections for the people of Brunei".

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