Sultan of Brunei and his brother were accused of drugging and molesting Miss USA in 1997

Brunei has gone ahead with phase 3 of its implementation of the penal code in line with Sharia Law that will see offenders punished with death for certain crimes.


                            Sultan of Brunei and his brother were accused of drugging and molesting Miss USA in 1997

In October 2013, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced his intention to impose the penal code from Islam's Sharia Law on the country's Muslims, attracting the ire of the international community.

The implementation was scheduled to take place in three phases, each one covering crimes more serious than the last.

Phase one, which covered crimes punishable by prison sentences and fines, was implemented in 2014. However, the Sultan delayed introducing the final two phases, which covered crimes punishable by amputation and stoning.

In fact, phase two and three of the revised penal code stipulated that the death penalty can be handed out to those found guilty of a range of offenses, both violent and non-violent, such as insulting or defaming Prophet Muhammad, insulting verses in the Quran, blasphemy, sodomy, adultery, and murder.

More controversially, it also that meant male and female homosexuality, which was already illegal, was now also punishable with stoning by death.

The Sultan announced the changes to the country's penal code on April 3 (Source: Miles Willis/Getty Images for 9th World Islamic Economic Forum)
The Sultan announced the changes to the country's penal code on April 3 (Source: Miles Willis/Getty Images for 9th World Islamic Economic Forum)

Experts speculated that the Sultan delayed their introduction as he wanted to ensure that the international uproar that followed the implementation of the first phase had died down.

But the country was back in the spotlight last week when a spokesperson for the country's Religious Affairs Ministry said the Sultan would be making announcements regarding phase two and three on April 3.

According to the BBC, the announcement went forward as expected, with the Sultan confirming the changes to the country's penal code during a public address where he called for "stronger" Islamic teaching.

The hypocrisy is staggering. A closer look at the House of Bolkiah, the Brunei royal family, reveals that, under this new penal code, the Sultan might have to dole out some fatal punishments to his near and dear ones, including himself.

The Sultan (left) with his brother Jefri (Source: Barry Batchelor - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Sultan (left) with his brother Jefri (Source: Barry Batchelor - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Tales of the hedonistic lifestyles led by him and his brother, Jefri Bolkiah, are widespread and practically folklore in the kingdom.

The brothers are infamous for their sex parties and harems mainly composed of underage girls. While they adhere to certain parts of Islamic law — each has several wives and families and attend Friday prayers without fail — the rest they disregard with careless abandon. Adultery, in particular, seems to be a part-and-parcel of their daily lives.

Jefri and his brother were sued for their treatment of Miss USA Shannon Marketic (Source: Paolo KOCH/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Jefri and his brother were sued for their treatment of Miss USA Shannon Marketic (Source: Paolo KOCH/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

In fact, their recklessness reached a head in 1997, when Shannon Marketic, a former Miss California and Miss USA, sued them both for $90 million for causing "mental anguish, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and other trauma."

In court filings, Marketic claimed a talent agency brokered a $3000-a-day job for her in Brunei that required her to do "personal appearances and promotional work."

Instead, she said she was held as a sex slave, forced to dance every night in Jefri's private disco, called a whore, and groped at random.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Los Angeles after she returned from Brunei, she also claimed she had been drugged and molested, and that Miss USA 1997 Brandi Sherwood was also one of the brothers' victims.

The allegations were categorically denied by the Sultan and his brother, who eventually escaped prosecution after 18 months of litigation when a judge dismissed Marketic's suit on the grounds that they had sovereign immunity as heads of state.