BRUNEI: Gay Death Penalty Law Goes Into Effect

The BBC reports:

Brunei is introducing strict new Islamic laws that make gay sex and adultery offences punishable by stoning to death. The new measures, that come into force on Wednesday, also cover a range of other crimes including punishment for theft by amputation.

The move has sparked international condemnation. Brunei’s gay community has expressed shock and fear at the “medieval punishments.”

The sultan of the small south-east Asian nation on Wednesday called for “stronger” Islamic teachings. Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Vice News reports:

The new rules were instituted by the powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who has held power for more than five decades in the tiny Southeast Asian country and is believed to be one of the world’s richest men. He defied the international condemnation, saying Brunei is a “fair” country that was “safe and harmonious” for visitors.

Both Muslims and non-Muslims will be affected by the new laws, which introduced the death penalty for acts such as rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery, and insult or defamation of the Prophet Muhammad. While men engaging in gay sex face the death penalty, lesbian sex carries a different penalty of 40 strokes of the cane and/or a maximum of 10 years in jail.