BANDAR SERI BEGWAN, Brunei — The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, has announced that harsh Islamic punishments that call for the death penalty for numerous offenses, including same-sex sexual activity, will come into effect on Thursday despite international condemnation.
Authorities in the predominately Muslim state in Southeast Asia, announced launch of the first phase of the new penal code at a sharia “declaration ceremony” on Wednesday, reports AFP.
“I place my faith in and am grateful to Allah the almighty to announce that tomorrow, Thursday May 1, 2014, will see the enforcement of sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases,” the monarch said in a royal decree Wednesday.
The sharia penalties, implemented in three phases over the next three years, will eventually include flogging, severing of limbs and death by stoning. The law was to come into effect last week, but was postponed amid condemnation from the United Nations and rare criticism at home.
The Brunei Times reports that the three phases include:
Hassanal Bolkiah, the 67-year-old sultan — one of the world’s wealthiest men — said the move was “a must” under Islam, dismissing “never-ending theories” that sharia punishments were cruel.
News of the Sultan’s assets, including the Dorchester Collection, a group of luxury hotels that includes the famed Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.
Earlier this month, a group of high-dollar LGBT donors cancelled plans to hold a conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and celebrities Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Osborne have spoken out to call attention to the hotels’ owner.