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A Tiny Nation's New Laws Are Jolting the World - Page 2

Adultery, gay sex punishable by death in Brunei under laws set to come into force Wednesday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2019 8:47 AM CDT

  • The Guardian sums up some of the shock flowing through the small, underground LGBT community there: Homosexuality is already punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years, but an LGBT rights activist who has regularly visited the country described the sentiment up until now: One LGBT person said to him, "'Look at how I dress, look at how I act, am I being arrested by the police?' And then a few others said, I think we are okay as long as we don’t rock the boat, have parades and announce our sexuality."
  • What's unclear is whether anyone will actually be stoned to death. The BBC reports the last execution in Brunei happened in 1957.
  • CNN reports the announcement of the new laws on the government's website quoted the sultan as saying Brunei "does not expect other people to accept and agree with it, but that it would suffice if they just respect the nation in the same way that it also respects them." The office of the prime minister was unwavering in a statement released Saturday: "Brunei Darussalam is a sovereign Islamic and fully independent country and, like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of law."
  • One quote getting plenty of pick-up comes from Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch: "Brunei’s new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes." He called for the immediate suspension of such punishments.
  • Celebs like Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres have joined George Clooney in speaking out against the laws—and suggesting retribution. DeGeneres on Tuesday tweeted, "Tomorrow, the country of #Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up."
(Read more Brunei stories.)

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