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Brunei Dismisses Death Penalty to Gay People After International Pressure

Updated On 06 May, 2019 Published On

The Kingdom of Brunei has dismissed the death penalty on gay people after international pressure was applied to the Islamic country following its passing of strict Sharia laws last month.

In a speech delivered by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Sunday, he said he would temporarily suspend the enactment of capital punishment and confirm with the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

The announcement was made after Brunei faced counterblasts against the imposing of "stoning to death" laws to people found guilty of gay sex, rape, and adultery.

A-class stars like Elton John and George Clooney appealed to the people to boycott hotels by the Sultan of Brunei.

Multinational companies like Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan warned their staff from using Brunei-owned hotels.

In his speech, the sultan mentioned there had been a number of "misconceptions" about the death penalty which he believes may have caused "apprehension."

Sultan Bolkiah said,

However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident,

For more than two decades, we have practiced a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law.

This will also be applied to cases under the Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO),

However, in his announcement the Sultan hinted that he was still in favor of the death penalty.
He announced,

Both the common law and the Syariah law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country. They are also crucial in protecting the morality and decency of the public as well as respecting the privacy of individuals,

There was quite a relief among the LGBTQ community and human rights activists after the announcement.
However, celebrations have been kept behind closed doors, amid concerns that the laws themselves remain in place.