Sharia in Brunei: Gay sex, abortion, extramarital sex, stealing now punishable by stoning, amputation, death

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Today, the Brunei Government ushers in a harsh new penal code that requires death by stoning for extramarital sex, anal sex, and abortion; amputation of limbs for stealing; and 100 lashes with a whip for lesbian sex.

Above: Dateline gets a rare glimpse into life under sharia law in Indonesia - on patrol with police in Aceh as they hand out harsh punishments to anyone breaking Islamic law.

“Brunei’s new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes,” said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director.

The controversial changes to Brunei’s penal code were first published in 2013, and were to be introduced in April 2014. However, international backlash halted the move until the country’s attorney general announced on December 29 last year the laws would be completely enacted on April 3 this year.

“Every day that Brunei’s penal code is in force is a multifaceted assault on human dignity,” said Mr Robertson.

“Governments around the world should make clear to Brunei’s sultan that there can be no business as usual so long as the threat of whipping, stoning or amputation remains on the books.”

The Prime Minister’s Office of Brunei moved to quell the global outrage of the new laws, releasing a statement last week.

“Brunei Darussalam is a sovereign Islamic and fully independent country and, like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of laws,” the statement read.

“Brunei Darussalam has always been practising a dual legal system, one that is based on the Syariah Law and the other on Common Law.

“In fully implementing the Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO) 2013 from 3rd April 2019, both systems will continue to run in parallel to maintain peace and order and preserve religion, life, family and individuals regardless of gender, nationality, race and faith.”

While the Australian Government criticised the penal code, according to news.com.au, a gay couple from Tasmania set to travel to Brunei were told by the Australian federal government’s Smart Traveller hotline to ‘act straight’ during their stopover in the country.

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Sharia in Brunei: Gay sex, abortion, extramarital sex, stealing now punishable by stoning, amputation, death.
Sharia in Brunei: Gay sex, abortion, extramarital sex, stealing now punishable by stoning, amputation, death.

Human Rights Watch detailed how the Sharia Penal Code violates international Human Rights Law.

“The code is discriminatory on its face, and violates many rights of women, children, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, among others,” the organisation wrote.

“The use of stoning or intentional amputation as a punishment violates the absolute prohibition of all forms of torture, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

“The Sharia penal code sets up serious barriers for Muslim women to escape violent marriages or seek equal employment opportunities. It criminalises anyone who prevents a legally married Muslim couple living together or ‘entices’ married Muslim women to leave their matrimonial home and similarly, punishes those who leave the custody of their parents or guardians.

“The code makes consensual same-sex acts illegal and punishable by death or by whipping. It institutionalizes discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in its most severe form.”