The implementation of Brunei's revised penal code -- which introduces Sharia (Islamic) law punishments for offenses like homosexuality, adultery, blasphemy, rape, and insulting the Quran -- has been postponed.
The laws, which were scheduled to take effect yesterday, would have punished homosexuality with death by stoning.
The BBC reports:
Assistant Director of the Islamic Legal Unit Jauyah Zaini said the delay was "due to unavoidable circumstances." No new date was given but an official told local media that the law would begin "in the very near future."
Brunei already adheres to a stronger form of Islamic law than neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia, banning the sale and consumption of alcohol.
When he announced the move last year Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 67, who is one of the world's wealthiest men, called the code "a part of the great history of our nation."
The sultan said the new code would not change his country's policies and officials have said in the past judges would be given discretion in sentencing.
Under the code, theft is reportedly punishable by the amputation of limbs.
Brunei's new laws have been met with widespread condemnation. The United Nations called them "cruel, inhuman," and "clearly prohibited" under international law. In the United States, a major LGBT donor conference was moved out of the Brunei-owned Beverly Hills Hotel in California.
But the Obama administration has thus far not indicated a willingness to punish Brunei for its backslide into barbarity: negotiations continue for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive corporate giveaway that rewards several anti-LGBT countries, including Brunei, with privileged trade status.