The small Asian country of Brunei has approved new measures that would allow anyone who engaged in homosexual activity to be stoned or whipped to death. The new legislation is part of the country's push to adhere more closely to Sharia Law.
Where is Brunei?
Brunei shares the island of Borneo with Malaysia. In 2018, it had a population of 450,565, according to the CIA World Factbook. Most of the population (78.8 percent) is Muslim, although there are significant Christian (8.7 percent) and Buddhist (7.8 percent) minorities.
The country is run by an absolute monarch, Sultan and Prime Minister Sir Hassanal Bolkiah, who has ruled the country since 1967.
What do the new laws say?
The new laws are part of the introduction of what the Independent described as a "Sharia Law-style system for criminal punishment." Homosexuality was already illegal in the country, but did not incur the death penalty.
Amnesty International called on Brunei to "immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its penal code in compliance with its human rights obligations." Other human rights groups have also called on Brunei to repeal this new law, which is scheduled to take effect on April 3.
The country also reportedly added amputation as a penalty for theft, even if the culprit is a child.
The country also has existing laws against not praying on Fridays or getting pregnant out of wedlock, as part of the Sharia Penal Code of 2014. At the time, the country toned down the punishments for homosexuality due to international pressure, including a boycott at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California, which is owned by the Sultan.
Brunei is not the only country to enact such laws. Homosexuality can also earn a death sentence in Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.