Brunei. In May, the gradual adaptation of the legislation to Islamic law, Sharia, was announced by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in the fall of 2013. In this first phase, it became punishable, among other things, to neglect fasting during Ramadan, failing from Friday prayers and spreading messages about other religions. “Indecent behavior” and extra-marital pregnancies were also criminalized. According to Countryaah.com, Brunei population in 2020 is estimated at 437,490. Violations of Sharia law can be punished with either fines or imprisonment.
Additional laws and punishments with the support of Sharia are scheduled to come into force in 2015, including the mutilation of theft and the death penalty for adultery and same-sex marriage. The laws are so contentious that critical voices came to the fore even in the very controlled Sultanate. Less surprising was the condemnation of international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch. The United Nations Human Rights Committee also expressed its concern over the development of the country.