Brunei sultan introduces strict sharia penal code

The sultan of Brunei reportedly announced strict Islamic criminal punishments to go into effect May 1.

"With faith and gratitude to Allah the almighty, I declare that tomorrow, Thursday 1 May 2014, will see the enforcement of sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases," Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said in a royal decree Wednesday, according to The Guardian.

The penalties reportedly will include flogging, severing of limbs and death by stoning.

The initial phase introduces jail terms of fines for indecent behavior, failure to attend Friday prayers and out-of-wedlock pregnancies, The Guardian reported.

The second phase, which will be implemented later in 2014, includes the stricter penalties for theft and robbery.

Death by stoning will be introduced next year for offenses including sodomy and adultery, the report said.

Brunei is the first country in east or southeast Asia to implement a sharia penal code on a national level.

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