The United Nations has condemned Brunei for adopting a new penal code that calls for death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.
It has long been a crime in Brunei, but the maximum punishment had been a 10-year prison sentence.
However, Brunei, a predominately Muslim state, has now adopted a new penal code that calls for death by stoning for consenting same-sex sexual activity, adultery, rape, extramarital sexual relations, and for declaring oneself to be non-Muslim.
The new penal code will come into effect on 22 April.
“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder are the other offences for which the death penalty could be applied under the revised code.
Noting that Brunei has maintained an effective moratorium on the use of the death penalty since 1957, OHCHR urged the government to establish a formal moratorium and to work towards abolishing the practice altogether.
“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited,” Mr Colville stated.
A judge sentenced 38-year-old Lawrence Featheroff to 30 months in prison after Featheroff pleaded guilty to attempted complicity to commit felonious assault and abduction on charges related to his disabled brother, the Columbus Dispatch reports:
FeatheroffDetective Brian Lowe testified at the sentencing hearing that Featheroff told investigators he was upset that his brother had told him he had sexual thoughts about men and boys.
Featheroff said he “wanted to toughen him up to push the gay out of him and make him a normal person,” Lowe testified.
He bloodied his brother’s nose on one occasion. Another time, he held a butcher knife under his genitals and threatened to cut them off, Lowe testified.
Meyers and Featheroff are among eight siblings who all were taken from their mother as children and sent to live with different foster families, some of whom adopted them. They reunited as adults and have become a family again, said some of the siblings who attended the sentencing to support Featheroff.
Lancaster police found Meyers with a concussion, a sprained ankle and bruises on his face and around his eye when they checked on him on Jan. 15. That came after one of the men’s siblings called police, concerned that abuse might be occurring at the house.
Featheroff was put in charge of his brother even after serving time for domestic violence.