Stoning to death law defended by Brunei
Brunei has defended the introduction of death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex on the grounds that men of "high moral standing and piety" will judge the cases.
Officials from the kingdom have written to the European Parliament saying: "The penal sentences of hadd - stoning to death and amputation -imposed for offences of theft, robbery, adultery and sodomy have extremely high evidentiary thresholds, requiring no less than two or four men of high moral standing and piety as witnesses."
European Union politicians and United Nations officials called for the laws to be dropped, but in a four-page letter to MEPs, the kingdom said there appeared to be a misconception about the sharia law, insisting it does not criminalise a person's status based on sexual orientation, including same-sex relations.
"The criminalisation of adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage to individual Muslims, particularly women," the letter said.
The death sentences would require a "no doubt at all" standard of proof, which goes further than "beyond reasonable doubt", it added.
Despite the letter, the European Parliament passed a resolution strongly condemning Brunei for the "retrograde" measures.
Independent News Service