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EU parliament slams Brunei over anti-gay laws

EU parliament slams Brunei over anti-gay laws

Thai protesters outside the Brunei embassy in Bangkok (Photo: Facebook)

The European Parliament on Thursday (18 April) condemned Brunei’s ‘retrograde’ Islamic laws which punish gay sex with death by stoning.

It adopted a resolution that ‘strongly condemns the entry into force of the retrograde Sharia Penal Code; [and] urged the Bruneian authorities to immediately repeal it’.

Brunei’s brutal sharia laws, ushered in earlier this week, which punish gay sex with death by stoning.
‘No crime justifies an amputation or torture, let alone the death penalty’ the parliament’s vice president, Federica Mogherini, said.

‘And no person should be punished for loving someone. That can never be interpreted as a crime.’

But, the parliament stopped short of issuing sanctions on Brunei and its ruling royal family.

Lawmakers had called for asset freezes and visa bans on the Southeast Asian nation and to blacklist nine hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.

What’s more, EU lawmakers said Brunei was doing ‘abusive lobbying’ ahead of Thursday’s vote.

Representatives handed out a letter claiming Brunei did not criminalize people based on sexual orientation.

It said ‘stoning gay people will be rare’.

‘The criminalization of adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage of individual Muslims particularly women’, it also reportedly said.

What is happening in Brunei?

Brunei is a tiny, but wealthy, Muslim-majority nation in Southeast Asia which now punishes gay sex with death by stoning.

Earlier this month, the country’s all-powerful Sultan introduced new sharia–or Islamic–laws.

They include: Death by stoning for people convicted of sodomy. Public flogging for those convicted of abortions, adultery or rape. The amputation of hands and feet for convicted thieves.

The United Nations condemned them as ‘cruel and inhuman’. The sultan has defended his ’sovereign right’.

Some argue that dwindling oil and gas reserves have forced the sultan to shore up support as a protector of Islam.

A coalition of rights groups in Southeast Asia last week protested the new laws.

Celebrities have also led a boycott of the Sultan’s business portfolio. And, in the UK, a Labour MP said the UK should chuck Brunei out of the commonwealth.