Brunei: ‘Stone the gays’ law to be phased in from tomorrow

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The Sultan of Brunei has confirmed that a law calling for homosexuals to be stoned to death will be phased in from tomorrow.

The law was announced earlier this month, and replaces the maximum ten-year prison sentence for homosexuality with death by stoning.

It was condemned by the UN, and a host of celebrities including Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Osbourne, who targeted the Brunei-owned Dorchester Collection for boycotts.

The sweeping law was initially due to come into effect on April 22, but was postponed due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’.

Despite the delays, the Sultan today confirmed the law, which will apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims, will be phased in over a two-year period from tomorrow.

He said: “Today, I place my faith in and am grateful to Allah the almighty to announce that tomorrow, Thursday 1 May 2014, will see the enforcement of Sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases.”

According to the Brunei Times, the first phase of the sweeping law will increase fines and prison sentences for various crimes.

Phase two, which restores corporal punishment including amputations for thieves, will come into effect within 12 months, and phase three, which introduces the death penalty, will come into effect within 24 months.

Under the law, the death penalty can be applied for rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder.

UN Spokesman  Rupert Colville said: “Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law.”

“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited.”