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Adultery, gay sex to be punishable by stoning in Brunei

By Darryl Coote

March 28 (UPI) -- Adultery and gay sex will be punishable by stoning to death under new laws set to go into effect next week in Brunei, raising the ire of international human rights groups.

Starting April 3, Brunei residents will be ruled by these new laws under its sharia penal code, which also penalizes theft with amputation.

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The new penal code was adopted in October 2013 and was rolled out gradually with the latest provisions quietly announced on the Brunei attorney general's website late last year.

Human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the new penal code since it was announced and renewed its demand Wednesday for Brunei to stop the implementation of the new punishments.

"Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations," Amnesty International Brunei Researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said in a statement. "The international community must urgently condemn Brunei's move to put these cruel penalties into practice."

The nation of fewer than half a million people has signed but not ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture, and has consistently ignored recommendations the U.N. made in its 2014 human rights review of the country.

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"To legalize such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself. Some of the potential 'offences' should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender," Chhoa-Howard said. "These abusive provisions received widespread condemnation when plans were first discussed five years ago."

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