Brunei on Wednesday (April 3) introduced harsh new sharia laws, including death by stoning for adultery and gay sex, despite a storm of global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups.
The tough penal code in the tiny country on tropical Borneo island — ruled by the all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah — fully came into force following years of delays.
The laws, which also include amputation of hands and feet for thieves, make Brunei the first place in East or Southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level, joining several mostly Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia. Rape and robbery are also punishable by death under the code and many of the new laws, such as capital punishment for insulting the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), apply to non-Muslims as well as Muslims.
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