Stoning, Flogging and Severing of Limbs to Be Introduced in Brunei

Laws to apply to the Sultanate's majority Muslim population

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Ahim Rani / Reuters

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei attends the country's National Day celebration in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, on Feb. 23, 2008

The Sultan of Brunei announced on Tuesday the gradual introduction of harsh Islamic punishments, such as death by stoning for adulterers, severing of limbs for theft and flogging for a wide range of crimes including abortion and consumption of alcohol.

The amendment is the latest step in the wealthy, all-powerful monarch Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s move towards a conservative Islamic state, but will only apply to the Southeast Asian nation’s majority Muslim population, Agence France-Presse reports.

Aiming to ameliorate fears of an overly punitive Shari‘a system, top officials promised two years ago, when the laws were being planned, that there would be an extremely high burden of proof for applicable criminal cases, and that judges would be endowed with wide discretion.