Brunei’s sultan on Sunday announced a moratorium to the death by stoning penalty for gay sex which has sparked international condemnation and boycotts from businesses and tourism around the world.
Al Jazeera reports: “The announcement on Sunday was Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s first public comments on the new penal code since it fully entered into force last month. … Bolkiah, in a televised address before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, said he was “aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation” of the new penal code.”
Said Bolkiah: “As evident 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 [Islamic penal code], which provides a wider scope for remission.”
But little is likely to change for LGBT people living in Brunei.
Said Matthew Wolfe, of the human rights group Brunei Project, to CNN: “Even if they weren’t put to death, LGBT citizens of Brunei could still face fines, whipping or jail. The law is still hanging over the heads of Brunei’s LGBT community. There is nothing stopping the Brunei Government from lifting the moratorium at any time.”