Oil-rich kingdom of Brunei to introduce Sharia criminal law
ReutersBANDAR SERI BEGAWAN -- Oil-rich Brunei will enforce Sharia criminal law next year, the Islamic kingdom's sultan announced on Tuesday, with possible punishments including stoning to death for adultery and flogging for drinking alcohol.
October 23, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
The law would be enforced from April, said the 67-year-old sovereign, Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world's wealthiest people, who has presided over a shift to more conservative Islam and anti-sedition laws in recent years.
Power is concentrated with the monarchy and the country does not hold elections.
“It is because of our need that Allah the Almighty, in all his generosity, has created laws for us, so that we can utilize them to obtain justice,” said the sultan, who also holds the post of prime minister.
Many crimes under the new code have a high burden of proof and Sharia court judges would have discretion over punishments, which could also include amputations for theft.
The tiny kingdom, which has Southeast Asia's highest per-capita income after Singapore, has been preparing to introduce the Sharia penal code for years. In the past, the sultan has said that Sharia criminal law should be established to work alongside the country's civil law more prominently.