- Brunei introduces stoning to death for gay sex, adultery.
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In a public address to mark a special date in the Muslim calendar, the sultan called for stronger Islamic teachings but did not mention the new penal code. They are particularly upsetting for the country's small lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT community.
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Before the new laws, sex between men was already illegal in Brunei and punishable with up to 10 years in jail. But the new code stipulates death by stoning as a punishment for sex between men, while women convicted of having sexual relations with other women face up to 40 strokes of the cane or a maximum year jail term. The sultan — who is one of the world's wealthiest men and lives in a vast, golden-domed palace — announced plans for the code in The first section was introduced in and included less stringent penalties, such as fines or jail terms for offences, including indecent behaviour or skipping Friday prayers.
Clooney's call to boycott nine Brunei-owned hotels in Europe and the United States last week catapulted the issue into the international headlines. Since then, a series of well-known figures have lined up to add their names to the chorus of condemnation. The sultan, who is the world's second-longest reigning monarch, first called for the penal code in the late s and it appears to enjoy broad support in the former British protectorate of about , people.
Analysts say he is seeking to burnish his Islamic credentials and shore up support among the country's conservatives due to the waning fortunes of the oil-dependent economy, which has been ravaged by recession in recent years. It is also unclear whether death by stoning will actually be implemented, as a high burden of proof is needed to hand down the punishment and Brunei has not executed anyone for decades.
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