Brunei’s foreign minister said the capital punishment law aims to ‘educate, deter, rehabilitate and nurture’ rather than punish.
The tiny Commonwealth country sparked outrage after invoking a new death penalty law that will likely see gay men being stoned to death and lesbians being whipped 40 lashes.
The introduction of the law has been condemned by the United Nations – as well as numerous celebrities including Elton John and George Clooney who called for a boycott of the Brunei-owned hotels.
But now, Dato Erywan – Brunei’s foreign minister – has said a letter to the UN saying the law ‘focuses more on prevention than punishment’ and aims to ‘safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage’.
He also explained there needs to be high evidence in the death penalty cases suggesting that the law would rarely be used.
In the statement he said: “Its aim is to educate, deter, rehabilitate and nurture rather than to punish.”
The UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt met with Erywan and said that despite working ‘well together on many issues’ the UK is ‘profoundly’ against the new capital punishment law.
Writing on Twitter, Hunt said: “Just had the Bruneian foreign minister to my office to drive home the UK’s shock at new Sharia law. We work well together on many issues, but profoundly disagree on this
“His suggestion that Sharia prosecutions are in practice unlikely is not acceptable: everyone should be free to be who they are and love who they want.”
Just had the Bruneian foreign minister to my office to drive home the UK’s shock at new Sharia law. We work well together on many issues, but profoundly disagree on this 1/2 pic.twitter.com/vM3IayYhwj— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) April 11, 2019