Brunei steps back from implementing the death penalty for homosexuality

The Sultan of Brunei has announced that the death penalty for homosexuality will not be introduced following global condemnation of the proposed law.

Ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, the Sultan of Brunei issued a statement saying the country had a defacto moneotrium on not observing the death penalty in cases involving homsexuality and this would continue.

The Sultan gave a speech on Sunday saying the Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO) would be implemented, but the death penalty would not be applied in practice.

“I am aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation of the SPCO. However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident,” the sultan said.

“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 SPCO which provides a wider scope for remission.”

The Sultan also released an English translation of statement, which is not normal practice.

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

The country first proposed the harsh laws, that included death by stoning for homosexuality, back in 2014, however they were delayed following international pressure. Earlier this year the country announced the implementation would begin in early April.

Following the announcement there were calls for celebrities to stop booking the chain of hotels owned by the sultan, international companies placed bans on doing trade with the oil rich country and there was a call to remove Brunei from the Commonwealth.

OIP Staff