Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, a tiny monarchy on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, imposed new criminal law based its new penal code on Shariah.
Death by stoning for sex between men or for adultery and amputation of limbs for theft are included. The death penalty will also be required for some other offenses, including rape and some forms of blasphemy or heresy, like ridiculing the Quran or insulting the Prophet Muhammad. The punishment for lesbian sex, previously imprisonment and a fine, is now to be 40 lashes. It went into effect on Wednesday, despite an international outcry from other countries.
“Brunei’s new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes,” Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, a nongovernmental organization, said on Wednesday. Brunei “is a sovereign Islamic and fully independent country and, like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of laws,” the prime minister’s office said. The country has a population of just 430,000. Human Rights Watch suggested on Wednesday that Brunei’s new penal code violated global prohibitions against torture and other mistreatment. The United States joined other countries including Britain, France and Germany in condemning the new penalties.