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Brunei: Strict law where members of LGBT community are stoned to death

In April 2019, Brunei introduced strict new Islamic laws that made anal sex and adultery offences punishable by stoning to death.

The new measures also covered a range of other crimes including punishment for theft by amputation.

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The move sparked international condemnation.

“You wake up and realise that your neighbours, your family or even that nice old lady that sells prawn fritters by the side of the road doesn’t think you’re human, or is okay with stoning,” one Bruneian gay man said.

Initially, homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The new law mostly applies to Muslims, including children who have reached puberty, though some aspects will apply to non-Muslims.

Under the new laws, individuals accused of certain acts will be convicted if they confess or if there were witnesses present.

Offences such as rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery and insult or defamation of the Prophet Muhammad will carry the maximum penalty of death.

Lesbian sex carries a different penalty of 40 strokes of the cane and/or a maximum of 10 years in jail.

The punishment for theft is amputation

Those who “persuade, tell or encourage” Muslim children under the age of 18 “to accept the teachings of religions other than Islam” are liable to a fine or jail

Individuals who have not reached puberty but are convicted of certain offences may be instead subjected to whipping.

The country first introduced Sharia law in 2014 despite widespread condemnation, giving it a dual legal system with both Sharia and Common Law.

The sultan had said then that the new penal code would come into full force over several years.

The first phase, which covered crimes punishable by prison sentences and fines, was implemented in 2014.

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Brunei had delayed introducing the final two phases, which cover crimes punishable by amputation and stoning.

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