BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN : Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Sunday extended a moratorium on the death penalty to incoming legislation prohibiting gay sex, seeking to temper a global backlash led by celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John. It sparked an outcry when it rolled out its interpretation of Islamic laws, or syariah, on April 3, punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with death, including by stoning. Brunei has consistently defended its right to implement the laws, elements of which were first adopted in 2014 and which have been rolled out in phases since then. However, in a rare response to criticism aimed at the oil-rich state, the Sultan said the death penalty would not be imposed in the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO). Some crimes already command the death penalty in Brunei, including premeditated murder and drug trafficking, but no executions have been carried out since 1957. “I am aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation of the SPCO. “However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident,” the Sultan said in a speech ahead of the start of the Islamic holy… Read full this story
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