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article imageNew Sharia law: Muslim adulterers to be stoned in Brunei

By Kavelle Christie     Oct 22, 2013 in World
Bandar Seri Begawan - The sultanate of Brunei announced on Tuesday it will implement a severe Sharia law penal code for its Muslim citizens in a few months.
Among the new punishments under the Sharia law (Islamic law) for Muslims are: being stoned for adultery, the severing of limbs for theft, and being flogged for violations ranging from abortion to alcohol consumption.
According to the AFP, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world’s richest men, 67, said the East Asian country can expect the code to "come into force six months hereafter and in phases." Prior to this, Brunei's Sharia courts were restricted to family matters like marriage, while its civil courts are based on British law as a result of the sultanate's days as a British protectorate.
Negara Brunei Darussalam ("Brunei, The Abode of Peace"), more popularly referred to as Brunei, is situated in the south-eastern region of Asia on the Island of Borneo. It is known for its more conservative stance in comparison to its Muslim neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia, and stresses the importance of Islam in daily life and governance, and respect for the monarchy as represented by His Majesty The Sultan.
The country which enjoys one of the highest standards of living in Asia, as a result of revenues from oil and gas, also functions as an independent sovereign constitutional Sultanate, with His Majesty The Sultan as the supreme executive authority.
The AFP reports that the sultan who has been advocating for sharia criminal punishments since 1996, stated in a speech, "By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled.” The news agency further states, since the law’s passing, the sultan has called it, “a part of the great history of our nation.”
"Brunei is showing its feudal characteristics as an 18th-century state rather than an important member of a regional Southeast Asian economic and social consensus in the 21st century," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, also quoted by AFP.
He also went on to call the legal change "rights-abusing, abhorrent, and absolutely unjustifiable."
More about Brunei, Sultan, Sultanate, Hassanal Bolkiah, Muslim
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