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Brunei defends new anti-LGBTI law: ‘Stoning gay people will be rare’

Brunei defends new anti-LGBTI law: ‘Stoning gay people will be rare’

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

Ahead of a formal condemnation of their new anti-LGBTI law, Brunei sent a letter and memo to the European Parliament defending themselves.

The letter is similar, sometimes word-for-word, to a document the country sent to the United Nations earlier in the month.

It describes how Islam is the official religion of Brunei and that they take pride in their own sovereignty.

‘It must be appreciated that the diversities in cultural, traditional and religious values in the world means that there is no one standard that fits all,’ the new document reads.

‘This necessitates tolerance, respect, understanding and the giving of policy space, especially for small states like Brunei Darussalam which strive to preserve their own traditonal, religious and cultural values.’

The Brunei Mission uses this belief, as well as the assertion that stonings will be rare, to defend the newly implemented penal code that legalizes execution, amputation, and whipping for things such as sodomy and adultery.

Defending the indefensible

Section 12 of the document specifically addresses ‘hadd’, or the punishments of ‘stoning to death and amputation, imposed for offences of theft, robbery, adultery and sodomy’.

It states this punishment has an ‘extremely high evidentiary threshold, requiring no less than two or four men of high moral standing and piety as witnesses’.

The mission further writes that to find a man of such high piety is ‘extremely diffult… in this day and age’. Therefore, ‘the extent that convictions of hadd may solely rest on confessions of the offender.’

Claims of not targeting LGBTI people

Elsewhere in the document, the Mission of Brunei states the penal code does not target people based on their sexual orientation or same-sex relations.

Instead, the penal code’s ‘criminalisation of adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage of individual Muslims particularly women’.

They further outline that these offences will not apply to non-Muslims in the country unless the acts are committed with a Muslim.

See also

British police received over £150,000 to train Brunei officers

Dr Ranj on our ‘obligation’ to keep speaking for LGBTIs in Chechnya, Brunei

Bisexual man in Brunei: ‘It’s both worse and better than what people expect’