Brunei to bring in stoning to death under new anti-LGBT laws

Demonstrators protest the punishment of women and LGBT people announced by the Sultan of Brunei near the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is owned by the Sultan, in Beverly Hills, California

Brunei is reportedly planning to introduce anti-LGBT laws next month that could see people whipped or stoned to death for same-sex activity.

Homosexuality is illegal in the east Asian country and punishable by up to ten years imprisonment.

Under the upcoming changes to Brunei’s penal code, punishments could include whipping and stoning to death for people found guilty of adultery, sodomy and rape, according to human rights groups.

The country introduced Islamic criminal law in 2014 when it announced the first of three stages of legal changes that included failing to pray on Friday or pregnancy outside of marriage.

A subsequent backlash led to the final two stages being delayed, but the country now reportedly plans to introduce the changes on 3 April.

The Brunei Project, a human rights group, posted on social media: “The Brunei Project recently learnt that after years of continually delaying implementation of phases 2 and 3 of the Syariah Penal Code (SPC), the Brunei Government is now rushing through the final two phases concurrently, with the laws scheduled to take effect on 3rd April 2019.

“While this means that the Government is breaking its promise to implement the laws in three distinct phases, with a grace period between each phase, what is even more alarming is the secrecy with which it is doing so.

A security guard confronts demonstrators protesting the introduction of laws targeting women and LGBT people in Brunei, outside the Sultan-owned Beverley Hills Hotel (David McNew/Getty Images)

“According to one source, there is an existing ban on the local media reporting on implementation of the SPC, although this cannot be verified at present. At the time of writing this post, most people in Brunei remain unaware that the SPC is scheduled to be fully implemented in less than two weeks.”

The Facebook post continued: “Among the punishments will be the amputation of limbs for theft, the death penalty for apostasy, and a range of punishments for those found guilty of engaging in sexual activity with members of the same gender and adultery.”

The organisation also highlighted that Brunei signed the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, although it has not yet been ratified.

“By implementing these laws, Brunei is clearly in violation of its obligations under the CAT,” the organisation added. “The Brunei Project calls on the Brunei Government to stop being so secretive with the implementation of these laws and to be open and transparent with the Brunei people.”

ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, a Manila-based human rights group, confirmed the implementation of the remaining changes were due to take place on April 3, citing government documents, Reuters reported.