Sultan of Brunei to introduce strict sharia law punishments

By Kyle Johnson,

The Sultan of Brunei announced on Wednesday that he would be instituting strict sharia law starting the following day.

Issuing a royal decree, the wealthy monarch said, "with faith and gratitude to Allah the almighty, I declare that tomorrow Thursday 1 May 2014, will see the enforcement of sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases." According to Agence France-Presse, the sultan said the move was "a must."

Phase one was initially supposed to go into effect on April 22, but it was delayed, with domestic and international critics hoping that maybe Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah simply changed his mind on the implementation of sharia penalties.

"Theory states that Allah's law is cruel and unfair but Allah himself has said that his law is indeed fair." The move will see the use of punishments such as fines and possible jail sentences for not attending Friday prayers or getting pregnant despite not being married.

Further phases will see punishments for other crimes increase to the severing of limbs, flogging and even death by stoning.

The Independent reports that following the announcement, there was international outcry, with a spokesman for the United Nations high commissioner for human rights saying he is "deeply concerned."

Sharia law was already in effect for marriages and other civil matters, but Bolkiah made it known he wanted further implementation to protect against such things as the Internet and globalization.

Amnesty International's Rupert Abbott condemned the announcement saying that, "[the new laws] will take the country back to the dark ages."



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