A harsher version of penal code, which includes sharia-based punishments for things like adultery and same-sex relations, is to come into force next week in Brunei.
Brunei, a tiny Muslim-majority absolute monarchy located in Southeastern Asia is about to put into force the last amendment to its criminal code as part of a reform initiated back in 2014.
The renewed code, which is aimed at reflecting Islam’s tenets of morality and punishment for those who break them, will include caning and even stoning to death of Muslims, who are found guilty of adultery, sodomy and rape.
Homosexuality was outlawed in Brunei even before the 2014 reform and in fact since colonial times, with jail sentences of up to 10 years possible.
If its government goes ahead with the plan, the nation will become the first in Asia to allow punishing gay people by death. At the moment only a handful of nations like Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have such provisions in their law.
However, the USA has so far stayed conspicuously silent on the issue, and so did London, which also enjoys “close ties” with its former protectorate.
Washington, which actively develops economic ties with the oil-rich nation while regularly holding annual naval drills with a particular focus on maritime security in the South China Sea, has not yet issued a single statement on the latest developments in Brunei.
The fact that another of Washington’s major allies – Saudi Arabia – also punishes same-sex relations by death – alongside adultery, apostasy and blasphemy – never stopped the USA from striking billions-worth of deals with Riyadh.
The recent scandal over the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which resulted in global fallout for the Saudis, failed to change the attitude of the White House and the Pentagon to Riyadh.
The news has horrified some international rights groups. Amnesty International, in particular, decried the introduction of “cruel and inhuman penalties” and called on the world to “urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”
In theory, Iran-style crippling sanctions of its exports would swiftly change the mind of the Brunei government on whether stoning gays is a good idea.
But considering how selective Western powers are in using this tool against nations accused of human right violations, one should not expect such a development anytime soon.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point Adultery News 2019.