Homosexuality, Adultery Now Punishable With Death by Stoning in Brunei

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday criticised new Islamic sharia laws in Brunei that allow for death by stoning for adultery and gay sex as a clear violation of human rights.

On Wednesday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced that the new laws would help contribute to the growth of Islamic teachings throughout the south-east Asian nation- for Brunei's population mostly consists of Muslims.

Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Brunei's LGBT community has expressed fear at the prospect of living under the Islamic law.

The European Union condemned Brunei's new laws saying some of the "cruel" punishments now permitted under a sharia penal code amount to torture and breach worldwide human rights agreements.

Brunei Investment Agency, a government-owned corporation founded by 72-year-old Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, owns luxury hotels across the USA, United Kingdom and Europe, including both the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, The Dorchester in London and Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.

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The harsh new penal code requires death by stoning for gay sex or adultery, while lesbian sex is punished by 100 lashes with a whip.

Brunei has defended its right to implement the laws, elements of which were first adopted in 2014 and which have been rolled out in phases since then.

Adulterers risk death by stoning too, while thieves face amputation of a right hand on their first offence and a left foot on their second.

He said: "Brunei's new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn't even be crimes".

Brunei's government showed no sign of stopping the law or bending to growing global condemnation a press release published on Saturday. However, the law will finally implement phase 2 and 3, which are the most controversial sections of the law, on April 3.

Comprehensive @hrw release on #Brunei's new penal code, and horrific, medieval punishments for vulnerable women, children, #LGBT & others.

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Earlier this week, Elton John the legendary pop icon backed up the plan of George Clooney, which is to boycott all the hotels that are owned by Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, the leader of Brunei.

But the company is not telling people to boycott Royal Brunei flights because it would hurt the people in the country and any sanctions could adversely impact humanitarian travel.

One 40-year-old gay Bruneian now seeking asylum in Canada said the impact of the new penal code was already being felt in Brunei.

The 72-year-old is one of the world's wealthiest men.

Clooney's call to boycott nine Brunei-owned hotels in Europe and the United States last week catapulted the issue into the worldwide headlines.

Almost two-thirds of Malaysia's 32 million people are Muslim. Karina Samala, chair of the Transgender Advisory Council said, "The city of Los Angeles and the United States and world should place severe sanctions on Brunei for taking LGBTQ rights back to the Stone Age".

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