Brunei faces global outcry as death penalty for gay sex, adultery comes into force

The billionaire Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah faces huge criticism after the government introduced a draconian penal code that includes death by stoning for gay sex, amputation for theft and public flogging for abortion.

The government of Brunei introduced revisions to its penal code on Wednesday which stipulates the death penalty for rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, robbery, and insult or defamation of the Prophet Muhammad.

The United Nations has condemned the new measures with the Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet calling them cruel and inhuman punishments that seriously breach international human rights law.

Brunei currently retains the death penalty in law but the last execution was carried out in 1957. Homosexuality has always been illegal in Brunei but the stricter Islamic laws now make it punishable by stoning to death. To be found guilty, an individual would have to either confess their involvement or be condemned by four witnesses.

Homosexuality has been already outlawed, the delay over the law however created a false sense of security, said Ryan Silverio, an LGBT rights activist from the human rights network SOGIE Caucus, who visited Brunei several years ago.

“At that time there was one LGBT person and she said: ‘Look at how I dress, look at how I act, am I being arrested by the police?’ And then a few others said, I think we are okay as long as we don’t rock the boat, have parades and announce our sexuality,” Silverio said.

“So my impression as an outsider was that they were enjoying a certain sense of comfort, but I perceived it as living in a pink bubble,” he added.

The penal code was formally published in 2013 but the government said the laws would be enacted over a period of several years, with the most controversial delayed after international outcry.

Yamini Singh

As a quick news writer, Yamini has written numerous articles, blogs and news edits at various platforms and is now a part of Prediction Junction. She loves to give a natural flair of reading to her readers and works with full diligence to achieve it.

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