According to The Guardian, the kingdom of Brunei has asked the European parliament to “respect” its new law punishing gay sex through death by stoning, arguing that the cases in which the law is implemented will be rare because it mandates the testimony from two men of “high moral standing and piety.”
The kingdom defended its law in a four-page letter to members of the European parliament. It asked for “tolerance, respect, and understanding” for the country’s effort to allegedly maintain its tradition and “family lineage.”
The government enforced the new penal code, which also punishes thieves through amputation and those wearing garments associated with the opposite gender through whipping, on April 3, despite outcries from the international community.
But the letter claimed that the criticism is simply a misunderstanding that requires clarification.
“The criminalization of adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage to individual Muslims, particularly women,” it said.
The letter continued, “The penal sentences of hadd—stoning to death and amputation—imposed for offences of theft, robbery, adultery and sodomy, have extremely high evidentiary threshold, requiring no less than two or four men of high moral standing and piety as witnesses, to the exclusion of every form of circumstantial evidence.”
The former British colony wrote that the “standards of piety of the male witness” required by the kingdom for the laws’ enforcement are “extremely difficult to find” nowadays, “to the extent that convictions of hadd may solely rest on confessions of the offender.” Such confessions may also be withdrawn, the letter added.