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'Barbaric to the core' - Brunei to implement stoning gay people to death
05 April 2019, 12:34 | Tara Lloyd
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Oxford awarded Hassanal Bolkiah, who has been both head of state and prime minister of Brunei since 1967, an honorary degree of civil law by diploma in 1993.
A view of the headquarters of German bank Deutsche Bank in London on 5 May 2017.
On Wednesday, Brunei's leader launched legislation that would make it legal to stone people to death for engaging in gay sex and adultery.
A growing call to boycott luxury hotels owned by the kingdom of Brunei has led the hotels to hide their social media accounts.
Amid global outcry, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah - who is also the country's prime minister - told an audience at a convention centre that Brunei was a "fair and happy" place.
Despite heavy backlash from the worldwide community, Brunei, the small nation of about 450,000 people on the island of Borneo, went ahead with enacting its new Islamic criminal laws Wednesday, which makes gay sex punishable by stoning to death.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called on the Sultanate of Brunei to withdraw the death penalty by stoning for homosexual acts.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government joined a swathe of foreign powers in condemning the changes to Brunei's legal system.
"I want to see Islamic teachings in this country grow stronger", he said in the nationally televised speech at a convention centre near the capital Bandar Seri Begawan.
"Anyone who comes to visit this country will have a sweet experience, and enjoy the safe and harmonious environment", he said.
"Tomorrow, the country of Brunei will start stoning gay people to death".
"The United States strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination targeting vulnerable groups, including women at risk of violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons", State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said.
Offences such as rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery and insult or defamation of the Prophet Muhammad will carry the maximum penalty of death. I'm aware of at least one Hollywood firm that is considering re-routing an upcoming event at one of the Los Angeles-based hotels; the Sultan owns the Hotel Bel-Air and the iconic The Beverly Hills Hotel.
He said: "Brunei's new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn't even be crimes".
Before the sharia punishments came into effect, sex between men was already punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
Brunei Darussalam is a sovereign Islamic and fully independent country and, like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of laws.
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