Tuesday

22nd Oct 2019

Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter

  • Brunei's sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is the architect behind the laws (Photo: Cia Pak)

Brunei has defended its draconian anti-homosexual and anti-adultery laws in a letter to the European Parliament (EP), while saying that few homosexuals are stoned to death in practice.

The south-east Asian country of 400,000 recently passed laws where homosexuals and others who commit adultery face brutal executions through a penal sentence known as "hadd".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Thieves and robbers also risk amputations.

The architect behind the sharia laws, the 72-year old sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who has ruled the oil-rich nation for decades, has since turned into an international pariah amid celebrity boycotts of his luxury hotels.

But the Brunei mission to the EU defended its position in a letter to MEPs ahead of a debate on human rights in the EP in Strasbourg on Thursday (18 April).

The criminalisation of adultery and sodomy were needed to safeguard the sanctity of family lineages and marriage, its four-page memo, obtained by EUoserver said.

The criminal offences did not apply to non-Muslims, it added.

And the harshest of the punishments, such as stoning to death of gay men, were seldom carried out because there were too few robust witnesses to fulfil legal requirements, it also said.

At least two males of "high moral standing piety" must witness the crime of sodomy or adultery, it noted.

But the difficulty in finding such men meant the stonings were unlikely to occur in practice, the Brunei diplomats added.

"The standards of piety of the male witness is extremely high, [so] that it is extremely difficult to find one in this day and age," their letter said.

The Brunei embassy further noted that its anti-gay sharia law was meant to prevent the alleged crimes from taking place instead of punishing people after the fact.

Meanwhile, people who committed less severe "crimes" were to be whipped by people of the same gender, it said.

Only moderate force was to be used and the whipping should not result in the "laceration of the skin" or "break bones", it added.

The European Union has said any such punishments violate the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Brunei signed the convention in 2015.

EU counts cost of US visa war

US nationals could be forced to seek EU visas from mid-October. But the move would be a "disaster" for bilateral relations and would cost billions if implemented.

Belgium's EU nominee still embroiled in legal feud

Cache of 18 secret documents and allegations of death threats in fresh legal complaint surrounding Belgium's EU nominee, Didier Reynders, shortly after a low-level prosecutor cleared his name.

EU sides with Google in data protection case

The European Commission suggests the French data protection watchdog overstretched its remit to make Google delist names on a global scale from search query results, as part of the 'right to be forgotten' rule in the EU's data protection regulation.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs criticise Juncker over climate and tax policies
  2. Juncker defends commission record on Greek crisis
  3. Croatian MEP criticises EU parliament for trusting Šuica
  4. Brexit is waste of time and energy, says Juncker
  5. Abortion and same-sex marriage become legal in Northern Ireland
  6. Germany wants internationally controlled zone in Syria
  7. EU parliament refuses to debate Catalonia
  8. Four businessmen charged in Slovak journalist murder

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. EU open to imminent Brexit extension, Tusk indicates
  2. EU centrists ally with far right on migrant rescues
  3. MPs vote on Johnson's latest push for Brexit deal
  4. Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance
  5. Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection
  6. UK opposition MPs attack new Brexit deal
  7. Deep divisions on display over post-Brexit EU budget
  8. Juncker: 'Historic mistake' against Balkan EU hopefuls

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us