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Brunei needs to end lashing punishment for lesbian sex

Brunei needs to end lashing punishment for lesbian sex


Even though it caved to international pressure over the stoning death penalty for gay sex, Brunei should also ‘immediately repeal its newly enacted penal code’, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Earlier this year, Brunei came under international scrutiny and criticism over its new penal code.

Punishments in the new penal code included, stoning to death for gay sex, public flogging for abortions, adultery or rape. Women face 40 lashes as punishment for lesbian sex. It also included the punishment of amputation of hands and feet for convicted thieves.

But in early May Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah bowed to global condemnation and said the country would not enforce the death penalty for gay sex.

He described it as ‘de facto moratorium on capital punishment’. But HRW pointed out the moratorium is subject to political whim and could be lifted at any time. It also said it left in place dozens of other rights-offending provisions.

HRW said in an open letter to the sultan that the new penal code violated human rights. It also released a report outlining the human rights violations called, Brunei’s Pernicious New Penal Code.

‘The Sultan holds absolute power in Brunei, so responsibility for this abhorrent penal code falls squarely on his shoulders,’ said Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director.

‘Brunei’s repeated commitments to respect human rights amount to little so long as the Syariah Penal Code is in force.

‘Brunei’s new penal code is a multifaceted assault on fundamental human rights.

‘The sultan should revoke this law and fulfill his promise to respect human rights.’