Brunei introduces death by stoning for adultery, gay sex

Aberdeen University

Brunei's sultan called for "stronger" Islamic teachings in the country on April 3 as tough new sharia laws, including death by stoning for gay sex and adultery, were due to come into force.

In a statement released ahead of the changes, Sultan Bolkiah defended his position, saying: "Brunei Darussalam is a sovereign Islamic and fully independent country and, like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of laws".

The University of Aberdeen said sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's LLD (Doctor of Laws), awarded in 1995, will be urgently raised with its honorary degrees committee.

According to the government's Smart Traveller website, the full Sharia penal code - including potential execution - will apply to Muslims, non-Muslims and foreigners on Brunei registered aircraft and vehicles.

The law, which went into effect on Wednesday, has triggered an global backlash, which includes celebrities advocating for a boycott of hotel properties owned by Brunei, a tiny, wealthy oil producing country on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.

"Tomorrow, the country of Brunei will start stoning gay people to death".

"Dorchester Collection is an inclusive and diverse company and does not tolerate any form of discrimination", the company said in a statement pinned on its corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts. "Wherever we go, my husband David and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect - as do each and every one of the millions of LGBTQ+ people around the world".

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As countries around the world - including Malta - move to enshrine laws protecting the LGBT community, Brunei is going in the opposite direction, enacting the harshest penalty for those found to be engaging in anal sex.

"Offences that attract the death penalty include blasphemy, sodomy, adultery, rape and murder".

Zayce said that gay people in Brunei, who were leading "secretive lives" even before death by stoning came into force, were now even more scared. For women convicted of having sexual relations with other women, the maximum punishment is 40 strokes of the cane or a maximum 10-year jail term.

Meanwhile, the United States government joined a swathe of foreign powers in condemning the changes to Brunei's legal system.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said the code was "barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn't even be crimes".

"That's why David (Furnish, John's husband) and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so", he said, referencing a previous call to boycott Brunei in 2014.

The new punishments have been met with widespread condemnation, with the United Nations branding the laws "cruel and inhumane" and the foreign ministries of Germany, France and Australia have also protested the plan and called on Brunei to abolish the new rulings.

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