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New Islamic criminal laws in Brunei punishing gay sex and adultery by stoning offenders to death have triggered international outcry.
The penalties were provided for under new sections of Brunei’s shariah penal code.
Amnesty International Wednesday urged Brunei to "immediately halt" implementing the new penalties.
"To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself," Brunei researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said in a statement.
Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, decried the “vicious” laws and asked the international community to condemn them.
A harsh new criminal law in Brunei — which includes death by stoning for sex between men or for adultery, and amputation of limbs for theft — went into effect on Wednesday, despite an international outcry from other countries, rights groups, celebrities and students.
The sultan, 72, is also the prime minister and holds several other titles.
He first introduced the draconian version of Shariah in 2013, as part of a long-term project to impose a restrictive form of Islam on his country, which is majority Muslim. The country’s new penal code is “barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes,” the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch said.
On Tuesday, the United States joined the United Kingdom, Germany and France in urging Brunei to halt its plans.There has been no vocal opposition to the new penalties in Brunei, where the sultan rules as head of state with full executive authority.Public criticism of his policies is extremely rare in the country.He added: "If this ill-considered plan goes forward, there is every reason to believe the global boycott Brunei movement will re-start." Robertson said Brunei will become the only country in Southeast Asia to punish gay sex with death if it pushes through with the law.Under a shift towards hardline Islamic law, Brunei in 2015 banned excessive Christmas celebrations for fear that Muslims could be led astray.