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Brunei's LGBT community runs "inhumane" with new stoning laws



"It's very scary," says Hyrrul, a young, cheerful man in Brunei who spoke with CNN by phone.

He and others interviewed by CNN for this story have asked that their true identity be concealed over worries about their safety and the security of their families.

"I thought I would not be accepted. (I thought I would be driven out by my family, I thought I would be sent to religious counseling to help me change," says Hayrul. "But , it was worse than I thought through stones, which made me feel that if it became a reality, I could leave the same, "he adds.

" (Laws) are inhumane.

A transgender woman Zain fled Brunei at the end of 201

8 and is now seeking asylum in Canada.

"I wanted to live in Canada." My life was on my own terms, in the sense that I wanted to be a woman. I wanted to live life without religious fundamentalism, conservatism, so I just left the country, "said Zain." Under Sharia law, I would be fined, imprisoned and imprisoned.

Zain says that her understanding Sharia law has increased her concern about what should happen.

"I was probably afraid, probably from 2013." I was studying at a religious school, so I knew these laws a little more than my friends who did not so religious, and I was a little afraid that Sharia law would be implemented. "
  View of Brunei Mosque of Sultan Omar Ali Sayfuddin (C) in Bandar Seri Begawan October 4, 2017.

Zain said that these laws are not threatened not only by the LGBT community.

"Everyone is injured. It's just a terrible life, even if you're not LGBT," says Zain. – Especially women there would be very difficult. The new law also punishes adultery among heterosexual couples with death from stoning.

Zain encourages others to leave the country. "I just want my LGBT friends to be safe and if possible come out with Brunei," says Zain. "This is not a good place for your freedom to be taken away from you, your human rights. It's a terrible way of life."

Brunei, a sultanate of about 450,000 on the island of Borneo, close to the more moderate Islamic people of Indonesia and Malaysia. In contrast to its neighbors, Brunei has grown conservatively in recent years, including a ban on the sale of alcohol.

The new criminal code was executed by Sultan Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, who also serves as Prime Minister of the country.

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While announcing this change, the government website quoted the sultan that his government "does not expect other people to agree with him, but that it will be

Shahiran S. Shahrani fled to Brunei in October when he was waiting for a court sentence for the surrender he had been shown after criticizing the government's post on Facebook.

Shaikhani now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. when he came to Canada, he was able to get out as merry. "I never went out to my family, I never told them. I always hid him, I always lived in fear that people would know. "

Scammers watch from afar what he calls" horrible "laws that take effect.

" I never expected it to go away. so far away I knew that Brunei always wanted the Sharia law to be adopted in the country; I've been waiting for him since childhood, "says Shahrani. "But I just can not imagine my life under Sharia law. Being fun in Brunei was quite difficult without the Sharia law."

"It's hard to think that just being who you are can kill you to death," says Shahrani.

  Sultan Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and Queen Salekh, depicted during his golden jubilee in Bandar Seri Begawan on October 5, 2017.
Last week, actor George Clooney called for a boycott of nine luxury hotels all over the world controlled by Brunei's government investment agency.

"At the onset of news, where we see the world retreating into authoritarianism, it's itself "Clooney said in his speech for the term.

Singer Ellton John also added her support to the campaign." Sexual discrimination is wrong and has no place in any society. "

Despite international pressure, Prime Minister Brunei's office issued a statement on Saturday to defend its new laws.

"Brunei Darussalam is a sovereign and independent Islamic country, and, like all other independent countries, has its own rule of law," the statement said.

Matthew Wolfe, founder of the Brunei project, a human rights organization, says that the reasons for the laws that are being implemented are not clear, but the economy may be one of them.

"In Brunei, the economy begins to decline, and it shrinks for some time, so that it could be a way out. And although this move is likely to further damage the disruptive economy, Wolfe says it could be part of the strategy of transition from the West countries to the Islamic world

19659002] "There is an impetus to attract more of the ways of Islamic investments in the country, as well as Islamic tourism, so that, of course, it can be considered as potentially attractive to these markets for investment in the country," says Wolf.

New Life in Canada

In Canada, the exiles Shahrani and Zain quickly settled in their new life and their now open sexuality.

Zain says that she was "always angry" in Brunei, because "I was always surrounded by religious conservatives » But now everything else …

"In fact, very refreshing, I was much happier, living here three or four months longer than ever in my life," says Zain. "I was just afraid to be my true self, fear here is not a problem."

Shahrani also says that Vancouver opened his eyes to someone who concealed his sexuality. from other western cities to which I was, "Shahrani said. "Gay men just hold hands at the supermarket, they kiss, it's normal, that's why they do not need gay bars, all the bars are fun. It's great."

Shahrani now hopes to inspire other Bruneuts who think

"If you feel that you are in danger, I did it, you too can," he says. "I do not think Brunei can change in the near future, and I do not want them to wait for this to happen, I do not want my country to be responsible for the death of my friends."

CNN AnneClaire Stapleton and Ben Westcott contributed to reporting.


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