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BRUNEI PENAL LAW PUNISHING

HOMOSEXUAL ACTS AND ADULTERY

Homosexuality and Adultery are now punishable with death by stoning in

Brunei.1 It joins Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Mauritania and parts of Nigeria

and Somalia, which also impose the death penalty for same-sex relationships,

according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex

Association (ILGA).2

Despite international condemnation, Brunei enacted new Islamic

criminal laws on Wednesday, 3 April 2019, including harsh measures that

make gay sex punishable by stoning to death. The implementation of the

draconian penal code is part of the predominantly Muslim country’s rollout of

Sharia law. 3

The country’s sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, first announced that the

Southeast Asian nation of about 450,000 people would practice Sharia law in

October, 2013. The first phase, which related to crimes punishable by fines or

imprisonment, was enacted in 2014. 4

1 http://time.com/5563264/brunei-new-penal-code-what-to-know/
2
BBC News, Brunei stoning: Which places have the death penalty for gay sex?, 3 April 2019,
available at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45434583
3 http://time.com/5563264/brunei-new-penal-code-what-to-know/
4 Ibid.,

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The latter phases, which cover offenses punishable by amputation or

death, were delayed amid global censure. But on 3 April 2019, Brunei defied

critics and enacted legislation that allows ruthless punishments, some of which

apply to children and non-Muslim foreigners.

Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei, but it was previously

punishable with prison time. The new legislation mandates death by

stoning for gay sex and a number of other acts, including rape, adultery,

sodomy, extramarital sex and insulting the Prophet Muhammed.

The new penal code also punishes lesbian sex through whipping and

theft with amputation, and criminalizes teaching children about any religion

except Islam. 5

As Brunei’s new laws take effect, it is important to look at Brunei’s Penal

Laws which took effect on Oct. 22, 2013.

Zina (Adultery)

Zina.

5 Ibid.,
2
68. (1) A man and a woman are said to commit zina if they wilfully had sexual

intercourse without being validly married to each other or such intercourse is not

syubhah intercourse.

“syubah intercourse” means a sexual intercourse performed with a presumption that

it is a valid marriage but in actual fact the marriage is not valid (fasid) or sexual

intercourse occurred by mistake.

“sexual intercourse occurred by mistake” means sexual intercourse between a man

and a woman on the assumption that the woman is his wife and the man is her

husband, when in actual fact she is not his wife and he is not her husband. 6

Illustration:

At night, in the dark, A and B have sexual intercourse. A thinks B is his wife

and B thinks A is her husband, when in fact B is not A’s wife and A is not B’s

husband. A and B did not commit the offence under this section.

Penalty for Zina

Under the new legislation which was enacted on 3 April 2019, Any Muslim

who commits Zina and is proved, the punishment is stoning to death witnessed by a

6BRUNEI DARUSSALAM GOVERNMENT GAZETTE, 22 OCTOBER 2013. Available at


https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Brunei-Syariah-Penal-Code-Order-2013-eng.pdf
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group of Muslims. The same punishment will apply to a foreigner if he or she is a

party to Zina together with a Muslim.7

Liwat (Sodomy)

82. (1) Any person who commits Liwat is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on

conviction to the same punishment (stone to death) as provided for the offence of

zina.

(2) For the purposes of this Order, “liwat” means sexual intercourse between a man

and another man or between a man and a woman other than his wife, done against

the order of nature that is through the anus.8

Musahaqah.

92. (1) Any Muslim woman who commits musahaqah is guilty of an offense and shall

be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $40,000, imprisonment for a term not

exceeding 10 years, whipping not exceeding 40 strokes or combination of any two of

the punishment.

(2) Any non-Muslim woman who commits musahaqah with a Muslim woman is guilty

of an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $40,000,

7 Ibid.,
8 Ibid.,
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imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, whipping not exceeding 40 strokes

or a combination of any two of the punishment.

(3) In this section, “musahaqah” means any physical activities between a woman

and another woman which would amount to sexual acts if it is done between a man

and a woman, other than penetration.9

9 Ibid.,
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