Brunei about to start stoning people to death for being gay
Author: Ninette Murk
Thursday 28th of March 2019 04:40:53 PM

Starting next week, the small island kingdom of Brunei will start punishing people found guilty of homosexuality and adultery by stoning them to death, drawing horrified outrage from human rights groups around the globe.

Starting April 3, the sultanate on the island of Borneo in southeast Asia — which adopted Shariah law in 2014, according to CNN — is scheduled to begin fully enforcing the strict penal code it announced in 2014. Besides stoning individuals found guilty of homosexuality, which is already illegal in the country, the laws also call for amputating thieves. The death penalty punishment will apply only to Muslims, according to the South China Morning Post.

Muslims comprise about two-thirds of the country’s population of 450,000, according to Sky News. Brunei was the first East Asian country to adopt Shariah law, which drew condemnation at the time.

“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations,” Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement. “The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

It’s unclear whether Brunei will backtrack plans for the harsh punishment, since a spokesman for the kingdom’s religious affairs ministry told the Morning Post only that Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah would make an announcement on April 3, when the full details of the law’s implementation would become clear.

“In terms of readiness, at the moment we are prepared to enforce the amputation of the hand for stealing only. That is all,” the unnamed spokesman told the paper.

The stoning punishment is also set to apply to rape, sodomy and adultery, according to Sky News.

According to Amnesty International, Brunei will join the eight other countries that punish homosexuality with a death sentence, including Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. In 2017, the United Nations passed a resolution to condemn countries that served death sentences to same-sex couples. The United States voted against that resolution due to “broader concerns about the resolution’s approach to condemning the death penalty in all circumstances,” a spokeswoman for the State Department said at the time.

Story by VICE News
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