Brunei could start whipping or stoning gay people to death next week when strict new laws are introduced, human rights groups warned.  

The tiny oil-rich nation already implements Sharia laws, with homosexuality punishable with up to ten years in prison.

But from the start of next month the government plans to amend the penal code to mean LGBT people could be stoned to death and thieves could have limbs amputated. 

Amnesty International today slammed the plans, describing the Islamic criminal laws for gay sex and theft as ‘vicious’.

Brunei was the first East Asian country to introduce Islamic criminal law in 2014 when it announced the first of three stages of legal changes that included fines or jail for offences like pregnancy outside marriage or failing to pray on Friday.

Previously homosexuality was illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, but the changes would allow whipping and stoning to death for Muslims found guilty of adultery, sodomy and rape, said human rights groups


The new penalties, which also apply to children, are in new sections under Brunei’s Sharia Penal Code and will come into effect April 3, Amnesty said in a statement. 

The country delayed implementing the final two stages of changes after an international backlash in 2014 which included a boycott of the Beverley Hills Hotel, which is linked to Brunei’s government.

But now Brunei authorities plan to go ahead with both stages, said Matthew Woolfe, founder of human rights group The Brunei Project. 

Brunei’s sultan instituted the Sharia Penal Code in 2014 to bolster the influence of Islam in the tiny, oil-rich monarchy, which has long been known for conservative policies such as banning the public sale of liquor.  

Amnesty labelled the penal code as a ‘deeply flawed piece of legislation’ with a range of provisions that violate human rights.

The legal changes were announced in a discreet notice on the attorney general’s website, the human rights group said.

Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, said some of the potential offences ‘should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender’.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (second right) speaks during his summit talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier this month

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (second right) speaks during his summit talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier this month

She added said: ‘To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself. 

‘Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its penal code in compliance with its human rights obligations.

‘The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.’ (Dailymail)