Brunei continues to defend Sharia law

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Brunei has issued a letter defending its new policy imposing the death penalty for gay sex, claiming that it exists only formally, and it is quite unlikely to lead to actual executions. Homosexuality was already illegal in the country, but the Sharia penal code introduces capital punishment by stoning for gay men, as for lesbians, they are publicly whipped. However, in the April 15 letter, Brunei’s Mission to the European Union claims that “there appears to be a misconception” about the penal code, saying that it was implemented only as a part of protective measures of the traditional Muslim family values, and this law will not be applied to people who are not Muslims, as it was previously clarified. It adds that the death penalty has an “extremely high evidentiary threshold (…) to the extent that convictions may solely rest on confessions of the offender.” The country claims it “reaffirms its commitment to its international obligations in promoting and protecting human rights as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” adding: “As a responsible member of the international community, [Brunei] will continue to uphold its obligations and adhere to international covenants on human rights.”

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