Brunei Backs Off Stoning to Death for Gay Sex

After intense backlash from the international community, the government of Brunei has stated that it will not stone to death those convicted of gay sex.

Stoning to death for gay sex, adultery, and rape was one of a number of draconian new Islamic laws instituted by the government recently in its new penal code.

Despite numerous public pronouncements of the merits of the new–and brutal—changes to the law, Brunei leader Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah publicly announced that he would continue the country’s moratorium on the death penalty and would also sign the UN’s treaty against torture.

The walking back of the stoning to death provision comes after massive outrage and the threat of a boycott from the international community, including denouncements from some of the world’s largest celebrities, corporations, and governing bodies.

“Both the common law and the Shariah law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country,” said the Sultan in defense of the harsh new penal code. “They are also crucial in protecting the morality and decency of the public as well as respecting the privacy of individuals.”

Despite the pledge to not execute LGBT citizens, in Brunei gays and lesbians still face intense discrimination, fines, whipping, and jail time.

In 2014, Brunei became the first Southeast Asian nation to institute national Sharia law.

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