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TRAVEL / Apr ‘2019

Gay people to be stoned to death under new laws in Brunei

PHOTOS Image source: The Stoning of Soraya M (Roadside Attractions, 2008) [film]
TRAVEL / APR ‘2019

Gay people to be stoned to death under new laws in Brunei

Gay sex and adultery will now be punishable with death after strict new Islamic laws came into effect in Brunei on Wednesday.

Words Sophie Phoon

PHOTOS Image source: The Stoning of Soraya M (Roadside Attractions, 2008) [film]

Brunei has brought in strict new Islamic laws that make it not only illegal for consenting males to engage in gay sex, but punishable by stoning to death. The news has resulted in fierce global outrage.

In 2014, Brunei became the first nation in Southeast Asia to enact ‘Syariah Law’, a restrictive form of Islamic law that aims to deter acts that are against the teachings of Islam. The legislation was rolled out in three stages, with the final measures being brought into place on Wednesday, 3 April 2019.

Under the new reforms, sex between two men and adultery is punishable by stoning to death. Sex between two women carries a punishment of 100 lashes, while dressing as someone of a different gender will result in imprisonment. Further penalties include amputation of limbs for those accused of theft and public flogging as a punishment for abortion.

The nation’s ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is one of the wealthiest men in the world and is the head of the Brunei Investment Agency, who owns the Dorchester Collection – operator of the Beverly Hills Hotel in LA as well as many other top hotels worldwide.

The nation’s ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is one of the wealthiest men in the world and is the head of the Brunei Investment Agency, who owns the Dorchester Collection – operator of the Beverly Hills Hotel in LA as well as many other top hotels worldwide.

On Wednesday, the Sultan said, “I want to see Islamic teachings in this country grow stronger.” The law will mostly apply to Muslims, who make up about two-thirds of the population, but some aspects will also apply to non-Muslims.

The news has been met with international condemnation from human rights organisations, LGBTI groups and celebrities. TV show host and LGBTI activist, Ellen de Generes is encouraging her Facebook fans to boycott the Sultan’s hotels, saying “we need to do something now.”

The United Nations has labelled the new laws “cruel and inhumane”, and the Australian foreign ministry has called on Brunei to do away with the measures.

Despite the international outcry against the archaic and cruel new laws, the Sultan shows no signs of backing down, issuing a statement at the weekend saying that Brunei “enforces its own rule of law.”