A new law set to go into effect next week in Brunei will make homosexuality a crime punishable by being stoned to death.
The brutal new laws were actually announced in 2014, and have been slowly rolled out over the last five years. Human rights groups have reacted with horror to the last phase of the law’s implementation, which will go into effect on April 3. From NBC:
“To legalize such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International. She said some of the potential offenses “should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender.”
“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its penal code in compliance with its human rights obligations,” Chhoa-Howard said. “The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”
Brunei, a small Southeast Asian nation bordered by Malaysia, instituted Sharia Penal Code in 2014, beginning with criminalizing offenses like getting pregnant out of wedlock or failing to pray on Friday.
The government’s website, where the change was announced, quoted Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as saying that his government “does not expect other people to accept and agree with it, but that it would suffice if they just respect the nation in the same way that it also respects them.”
Additional new laws will also include amputating the hands of those convicted of theft, and will apply to children.