Brunei is officially the first East Asian country to adopt sharia law. This move has garnered widespread condemnation from many global human rights groups.
Brunei is a small nation of just over 400,000 people and is notable because of its oil wealth.
Sharia law will operate alongside the existing legal system and will include punishments such as flogging, dismemberment and stoning.
Brunei is one of the most developed nations in East Asia. Its healthcare, education system and public services are heavily subsidized by the state. It retains an absolute monarchy with no sign of democratic reform on the horizon.
(CNN) — Brunei has become the first East Asian country to adopt sharia law, despite widespread condemnation from international human rights groups.
The Islamic criminal law is set to include punishments such as flogging, dismemberment and death by stoning for crimes such as rape, adultery and sodomy. The religious laws will operate alongside the existing civil penal code.
During a ceremony Wednesday morning, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, announced the commencement of the first phase of the sharia-based penal code, according to the government’s official website.
The oil-rich kingdom, located on the island of Borneo, has a population of just 412,000 people. The country already follows a more conservative Islamic rule than neighboring Muslim-dominated countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, and has implemented strict religiously-motivated laws, such as the banning of the sale of alcohol.
In response to the new set of laws, human rights group Amnesty International said that it will “take the country back to the dark ages.”