On April 3, Brunei sparked global controversy with the confirmation of reports that it had adopted a much stricter sharia code, including the punishing of gay sex, adultery and blasphemy by stoning to death and the amputation of hands or feet for theft. It was a public holiday in Brunei, as it marked the observance of the Ascension of Prophet Muhammad. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah had chosen this special day to tell his people that he wanted to “see Islamic teachings in this country grow stronger”. The sultan intends to leave a strong legacy for his nation, which is striving to diversify its economy from heavy dependence on oil and gas revenues. In announcing the implementation of sharia, the sultan, also the nation’s prime minister, pointed out that Brunei was “a sovereign Islamic and fully independent country” and, “like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of law”. News agencies cited United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said the UN “stands clearly against any form of cruel punishment” and believes the Brunei legislation clearly violates the principles “that human rights are to be upheld in relation to every person everywhere without any kind of discrimination”. Tiny but oil- and gas-rich… Read full this story
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