In what has come as a major source of relief to activists and sane, humane people worldwide, Brunei will not impose the death penalty on those who are convicted of having gay sex. This decision comes in the wake of strong international condemnation following the rollout of its strict Islamic laws in April.

The country and its ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah had faced heat globally after announcing that they would impose draconian punishments which included death by stoning for those convicted of having gay sex, rape and adultery.

 

Proving once again that one must financially hurt perpetrators of crimes against humanity, celebrities like George Clooney and Elton John had joined human rights groups in boycotting hotels owned by the Sultan. CNN reports that large companies like JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank told their staff to avoid using Brunei-owned hotels in the wake of new laws.

“For more than two decades, we have practised 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),” the sultan said in his speech on Sunday.

“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,” he added.

However, while the Sultan has extended a moratorium on capital punishment, the laws themselves remain in place. While LGBT citizens accused of gay sex may not face the death penalty in Brunei, they can still be fined or face whipping and jail time.

(Header credits: @Reaproy on Twitter)

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