Monday, October 28, 2013

Brunei to Bring in Tough New Sharia Law

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
THE GUARDIAN: Oil-rich sultanate plans a new Islamic criminal code with punishments including stoning, flogging and amputation

Brunei plans to implement a tough new sharia criminal code next year that could see citizens stoned for adultery or having a limb amputated for theft.

Those convicted of drinking alcohol or committing other violations – such as abortion – could be flogged.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – who is thought to be worth about $20bn (£12.3bn) and exercises tight control over the Muslim-majority country – described the legislation as "part of the great history of our nation" and a form of "special guidance" from God.

"It is because of our need that Allah the Almighty, in all his generosity, has created laws for us, so that we can utilise them to obtain justice," the 67-year-old was quoted as saying in local media.

The oil-rich sultanate already forbids the sale of alcohol and bans the evangelism of religions other than Islam. It is known for practising a more conservative form of Islam than its majority-Muslim neighbour Malaysia.

While sharia law already exists within the small south-east Asian nation – which is home to roughly 406,000 people, two-thirds of whom are Muslim – the Islamic court has, to date, primarily handled family-related affairs like marriage and inheritance.

The new penal code will be enforced in phases, local media reported, and will apply only to Muslims.

However, visitors to the Brunei could be flogged under existing secular laws for crimes including immigration offences. Caning is also used as punishment in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. » | Kate Hodal | Tuesday, October 22, 2013

THE BRUNEI TIMES: Brunei to enforce Syariah law next year » | Tuesday, October 22, 2013

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