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Death penalty introduced in Brunei for gay sex

HUMAN rights campaigners have denounced Brunei’s decision to make death by stoning the punishment for having gay sex.

Those found guilty of this “crime” currently face a lengthy prison sentence, but the new penalty is part of a new penal code that comes into force on April 3.

Under the new code, which also applies to children, the oil-rich, Western-backed absolute monarchy will also be empowered to order amputations as punishments. 

“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its penal code in compliance with its human rights obligations,” Brunei researcher at Amnesty International Rachel Chhoa-Howard said. 

“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.

“Brunei’s penal code is a deeply flawed piece of legislation containing a range of provisions that violate human rights. 

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

The new penal code was originally introduced in 2014 by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who also happens to be one of the wealthiest rulers in the world. 

The legislation was supposed to be implemented in three phases with a grace period between each of them. However, it now appears that the government is discreetly rushing through the final phases of the legislation. 

Human rights organisation the Brunei Project said in a social media post this week that there has been no official statement advising the public of these new punishments and therefore most people in the kingdom are unaware of the changes. 

“The Brunei Project calls on the government to stop being so secretive with the implementation of these laws and to be open and transparent with the Brunei people,” the NGO said.

“We stand firmly opposed to the implementation of … the sharia penal code and urge the Brunei government to immediately halt implementation and to uphold its obligations as a signatory to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”

Brunei is a former British colony and retains very close links with this country. Since the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, Brunei hosts the only remaining British military base in the Far East.

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