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Brunei delays punishing gay sex with death by stoning

United Nations has appealed to Brunei to delay the penal code that will introduce death by stoning for several crimes including homosexuality
Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, has welcomed the new penal code.

Brunei has said it has delayed a law punishing gay sex by stoning, but said it will happen ‘in the very near future’.

The predominantly Muslim nation of south-east Asia has faced international criticism after adopting a new penal code calling for death by stoning for several crimes.

This includes homosexuality, adultery, rape, and declaring oneself to be non-Muslim.

The implementation of the harsh Islamic punishments was due to begin today (22 April).

No confirmed new date was given for the start of the punishments, which will also eventually include flogging and the severing of limbs.

Jauyah Zaini, assistant director of Brunei's Islamic Legal Unit, was quoted by the Brunei Times as saying implementation had been delayed ‘due to unavoidable circumstances’. He did not elaborate nor give a new date.

But officials have told the AFP that once Sultan Hassanal, who is currently on a trip to Singapore, has returned then the penal code will begin to be introduced.

The United Nations human rights office has appealed to Brunei to hold off on introducing the new penal code.

‘Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offences contravenes international law,’ said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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

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