After receiving heavy criticism not just in their country but also internationally, Brunei’s foreign ministry has said implementing Sharia law is about prevention rather than punishment.
The statement of the ministry comes after intense criticism of its decision to implement the strict Islamic code.
Under the new and controversial laws, adultery and sex between men is punishable by stoning to death.
The Brunei government said there would be a high threshold for evidence in those cases, suggesting punishment would be rare.
It comes after the United Nations called the punishments “cruel and inhuman”.
As per Erywan Yusof, the minister of foreign affairs, said the Sharia law “focuses more on prevention than punishment. Its aim is to educate, deter, rehabilitate and nurture rather than to punish”.
It also said Sharia does not criminalize based on sexual orientation or belief, including same-sex relations.
The criminalization of “adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage of individual Muslims, particularly women”, according to the statement.
UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt also said he had spoken to the Bruneian foreign minister who had suggested that Sharia prosecutions were, in practice, unlikely.