Brunei defends stoning homosexuals to death in letter to EU

Brunei has refused to back down on its extreme anti-gay laws.
Brunei has refused to back down on its extreme anti-gay laws. Photo credit: Reuters

Brunei has refused to back down on its extreme anti-gay laws.

The law, introduced earlier this month, made adultery and gay sex punishable by death by stoning.

The southeast Asian country has defended the law in a letter written to the European Parliament.

The letter asked for "tolerance, respect and understanding" of their stance, and went on to to say: "The criminalisation of adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage to individual Muslims, particularly women.

It also said the crimes that were punishable by stoning to death required a high evidentiary threshold, and there must be two or four men of "high moral standing and piety as witnesses".

The crime would also have to have "no doubt at all" as to whether it occurred rather than the practiced "beyond reasonable doubt".

The letter has not swayed European nations' position on the law, with the UK, France and Germany backing a resolution condemning the country and its leader, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

The EU Parliament wants to punish Brunei by issuing visa bans, and freezing valuable assets, including a number of high-end hotels owned by the nation globally.

Celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John called for people to boycott the Brunei-owned hotels earlier this month, with Elton John saying he has "long refused" to stay at the hotels.

"We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable.

"That's why David and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so. We hope you will join us in solidarity," the singer tweeted.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who is also the country's Prime Minister, said the anti-gay law was a "great achievement".

The country also revealed thieves faced amputation, and people who wore clothes that were not made for their gender would be whipped.

Brunei has banned homosexuality since 1964, but has implemented harsher punishments since embracing a radical interpretation of Islam.