Sultan of Brunei introduces tough Islamic punishments
23 October, 2013
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Sultan of Brunei introduced tough Sharia-law punishments on Tuesday including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, hailing what he called a "historic" step toward Islamic orthodoxy for his sleepy country.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah — one of the world's wealthiest men — said a new Sharia Penal Code in the works for years was officially introduced on Tuesday in the tiny, oil-flush sultanate and would be phased in beginning in six months. Based on individual cases, punishments could include stoning to death for adultery, severing of limbs for theft, and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to alcohol consumption, according to a copy of the code.
The code applies only to Muslims. "By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled," the sultan, 67, said in a speech. An absolute monarch whose family has tightly controlled the languid, oil-rich country of 400,000 for six centuries, the sultan first called in 1996 for the introduction of Sharia criminal punishments.
The sultan already imposes a relatively conservative brand of Islam on his subjects, compared to Brunei's Southeast Asian Muslim neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei bans the sale and public consumption of alcohol and closely restricts other religions.