Brunei introduces Shariah penal code

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stoningThe Sultan of Brunei on October 22 announced the phased introduction of tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, in the monarchy’s latest step towards conservatism, AFP reported.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said in a speech that a new Shariah penal code which has been in the works for years had been gazetted on October 22 and would “come into force six months hereafter and in phases”.

Based on the details of particular cases, punishments can include stoning to death for adulterers, severing of limbs for theft and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to consumption of alcohol, according to a copy of the code.

“By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled,” said the Sultan.

Brunei already practices a conservative brand of Islam compared to its Muslim neighbours in Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia. The sale and public consumption of alcohol are banned and authorities closely restrict the activities of other religions.

However, it was not immediately clear how aggressively the new criminal code, which applies only to Muslims, would be implemented. Brunei already has a dual-track system combining civil courts based on British law — the sultanate was a British protectorate until 1984 — and Shariah courts that are currently limited to personal and family issues such as marriage disputes.

Nearly 70 percent of Brunei’s people are Muslim ethnic Malays, while about 15 per cent are non-Muslim ethnic Chinese, followed by indigenous peoples and other groups. The Sultan has leaned increasingly towards Islamic orthodoxy in recent years, including the introduction of mandatory religious education for all Muslim children and ordering all businesses in the country closed for two hours during Friday prayers.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

The Sultan of Brunei on October 22 announced the phased introduction of tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, in the monarchy’s latest step towards conservatism, AFP reported.

Reading Time: 1 minute

stoningThe Sultan of Brunei on October 22 announced the phased introduction of tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, in the monarchy’s latest step towards conservatism, AFP reported.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said in a speech that a new Shariah penal code which has been in the works for years had been gazetted on October 22 and would “come into force six months hereafter and in phases”.

Based on the details of particular cases, punishments can include stoning to death for adulterers, severing of limbs for theft and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to consumption of alcohol, according to a copy of the code.

“By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled,” said the Sultan.

Brunei already practices a conservative brand of Islam compared to its Muslim neighbours in Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia. The sale and public consumption of alcohol are banned and authorities closely restrict the activities of other religions.

However, it was not immediately clear how aggressively the new criminal code, which applies only to Muslims, would be implemented. Brunei already has a dual-track system combining civil courts based on British law — the sultanate was a British protectorate until 1984 — and Shariah courts that are currently limited to personal and family issues such as marriage disputes.

Nearly 70 percent of Brunei’s people are Muslim ethnic Malays, while about 15 per cent are non-Muslim ethnic Chinese, followed by indigenous peoples and other groups. The Sultan has leaned increasingly towards Islamic orthodoxy in recent years, including the introduction of mandatory religious education for all Muslim children and ordering all businesses in the country closed for two hours during Friday prayers.

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