In worrying news, it has emerged that Brunei plans to introduce a new law in the coming weeks which would see a punishment of whipping, or death by stoning for anyone convicted of same-sex activity. The Sharia Penal Code is due to come into effect by April 3.
Brunei previously introduced Islamic criminal law over five years ago, including legal punishments for pregnancy outside marriage. While homosexuality was illegal and punishable with a prison sentence, the country held off introducing the death penalty due to a huge international backlash.
However, two Manila based human rights groups; the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus and OutRight Action International confirmed the upcoming introduction of new laws saying those convicted of being gay, along with those found guilty of rape, sodomy and adultery, will be punished with whipping or stoning to death. The groups also said it seems authorities are trying to fly under the radar with the introduction of the new laws so as not to inspire another backlash.
Attempts by one of the groups to contact the Brunei Prime Minister’s Department for comment have been ignored.
In neighbouring Indonesia, the mayor of Padang announced back in January he was using the military (TNI) to hunt down LGBT+ people. Once captured, they are subjected to ‘conversion therapy and exorcisms’.
Speaking at the time, Ansharullah said: “We are coaching them with the TNI. Those [caught in] the operations that we have conducted, we develop and train them, we cultivate their nationalism, we develop their identity.”
Ansharullah has also said that he is using the help of Islamic scholars to perform ‘rugyah’, a form of exorcism, on the individuals. This is fuelled from a belief that LGBT+ people are possessed by ‘jinns’ (genies or demons).
“We also involve the ulema, because from the information we have received, the existence of LGBT or lesbians is because there is indeed the influence of jinns and demons, so we perform ruqyah to force them to leave,” he added.
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