Tough Sharia punishments including cutting of limbs for stealing and death by stoning for marriage infidelity will be introduced in three years in Brunei.
The changes already were perceived as deeply concerning by the UN in April.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah stated: “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,” quote by AFP news.
*Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
The first phase includes offences that are covered by fines and prison sentences, and the second phase will include amputations of limbs for theft and the third one – stoning for adultery and homosexual acts among other.
The first news of this act appeared in 2013, when the Sultan called this code: “a part of the great history of our nation”.
This was met with a severe reaction of people in social media, and in February they were warned by Sultan to stop the attack on his plans.
It was officially confirmed that the decision to sentence the accused ones would be given to the judges. Before this, Sharia courts have been only dealing with marriage and inheritance matters and the civil courts have been working under British law.
Brunei received a claim from the UN in April that urged them to delay the planned changes in order for them to be checked in accordance with human rights international standards.
Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated at a press conference in April that stoning is constituted as torture and is prohibited by human rights standards. This laws according to him “may encourage further violence and discrimination against women” because of “deeply entrenched” stereotypes.
Islamic law in its stronger form is already applied in Brunei, e.g. any sale or consumption of alcohol is banned. Neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Indonesia do not have such strict laws.
Most part of population are Malay Muslims, while there are still large Buddhist and Christian communities.
Brunei is a small state on Borneo Island, that is ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. The state has grown very rich on exports of oil and gas.
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