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Brunei says gay stoning law aims to ‘rehabilitate and ‘nurture’

Brunei says gay stoning law aims to ‘rehabilitate and ‘nurture’

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

Brunei’s foreign ministry has said imposing Sharia law is about prevention, not punishment, following global outcry over the Sultan’s decision to implement strict Islamic code.

In fact, the aim of the law, which legalizes the stoning of LGBTI people, is to ‘rehabilitate and nurture,’ according to Brunei’s foreign minister, Erywan Yusof.

Yusof was responding to the United Nation’s (UN) outright denouncement of the laws as ‘draconian’ and ‘inhumane.’

What did Brunei say?

Yusof responded to the UN’s criticism on Monday (8 April) saying Sharia law ‘focuses more on prevention than punishment. Its aim is to educate, deter, rehabilitate, and nurture rather than to punish.’

Moreover, the criminalization of ‘adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage of individual Muslims, particularly women.’

According to the statement, Sharia law does not criminalize based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The courts would only enforce capital punishment to cases with a ‘very high standard of proof … which goes further than the common law standard of “beyond reasonable doubt.”‘

Instead, the legal system aims to ‘create a society where religion, life, intellect, property, and linage are preserved.’

‘Sickening and callous’

Stephen Cockburn, deputy director of global issues at Amnesty International, condenmend the minister’s letter.

He said: ‘To defend the threat of amputation and stoning as aiming to “rehabilitate and nurture” is plainly absurd.

‘To legalize torture is sickening and callous in any circumstance. To do so as a preventive measure is also reckless.’

What was it in response to?

The Sultan of Brunei’s governmental bloc has been internationally denounced by not only fellow government administrations, but businesses, celebrities, and LGBTI advocates, too.

Brunei itself – a tiny, oil-rich patch of the island of Berneo – has only 430,000 people living there.

Yet, this in no way stopped the immense and continuing condemnation of their government.

Just last week, demonstrators descended to the Dorchester Hotel in London to denounce the Sultan-owned business.

Meanwhile, Australian travel agency STA Travel and Virgin Australia severed ties with the country’s national air carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines.

Similarly, London train network TfL did the same after ads for the airline were spotted by commuters.

Moreover, high-profile celebrities – from George Clooney to Dua Lipa – have spoken bluntly of their decisions to boycott all Brunei-owned hotel businesses.

Background of Brunei

Rulers of Brunei have long enforced strictly traditional interpretations of Islamic teachings. The country, in Southeast Asia, operates under an absolute monarchy.

In other words, the head of state, the Sultan of Brunei, is also head of government. Royalty and lawmaking are one the same.

For example, under the current 51-year-long monarch Hassanal Bolkiah, the country banned alcohol and forbade the proliferation of non-Islamic faiths.

See also

Brunei defends new death penalty law for gay sex

In fear for their lives: The hidden LGBTI community of Brunei

UK universities refuse to rescind Sultan of Brunei’s three honorary degrees