Brunei Defends Anti-Gay Stoning Law as Meant to “Rehabilitate and Nurture”

They claim it isn't about punishment.

Brunei has defended its adoption of Sharia law that punishes gay sex and adultery with stoning to death as a preventative measure, more than an attempt to punish, in response to the United Nations’ recent condemnation.

Erywan Yusof (above), Brunei’s second minister of foreign affairs, sent a letter to UN officials saying the change in law was intended to act as “more on prevention than punishment,” with a goal to “educate, deter, rehabilitate and nurture.”

Curiously, the letter also mentioned the need to “strike the right balance between protecting the rights of the accused person and the rights of the victims and their families,” without clarifying who would be the victim in a consensual, adult, same-sex sexual activity.

sultan of brunei
Getty Images/Contributor
The Sultan of Brunei

“To defend the threat of amputation and stoning as aiming to ’rehabilitate and nurture’ is plainly absurd,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International Deputy Director of Global Issues, in a statement.

“To legalize torture is sickening and callous in any circumstance. To do so as a preventive measure is also reckless,” Cockburn continued.

“Likewise, to defend the threat of amputation and stoning as aiming to ‘rehabilitate and nurture’ is plainly absurd. Merely enacting such laws creates a toxic and threatening environment. The Brunei authorities must refrain from implementing them, and must take necessary steps to repeal this unacceptable legislation, and bring it in line with international human rights laws and standards.”

The stoning law was enacted in April 3, and has led to international condemnation, protests, and boycotts, as the LGBTQ community is left to flee in fear for their lives. Meanwhile, the country won’t say if the law applies to tourists, and the U.S. State Department has been slow to issue a full-throated condemnation, like other nations, and the UN and numerous civil rights groups.

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