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US criticises Brunei’s Sharia death penalties

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Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (2nd R, Front) waves to the crowd during a Royal Procession in Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei, on Oct. 5, 2017. Xinhua/Jeffrey Wong

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday criticised Brunei’s decision to implement Islamic laws that would allow death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality and urged it to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

“Brunei’s decision to implement Phases Two and Three of the Sharia Penal Code and associated penalties runs counter to its international human rights obligations, including with respect to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

Brunei, a Muslim-majority former British protectorate with a population of around 400,000, implemented the Sharia laws yesterday, punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with the death penalty, including by stoning, and theft with amputation.

Oscar-winning actor George Clooney has called for a boycott of luxury hotels owned by Brunei, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, because of the country’s plans to impose the punishments.

“We continue to encourage Brunei to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 2015, and to sign, ratify, and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Mr Palladino said.

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