Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei
King's College London Won't Revoke Brunei Sultan's Honorary Degree

By Thom Senzee

Originally published on Advocate.com June 10 2014 11:54 AM ET

The publisher of a U.K. LGBT news outlet wants his alma mater to revoke an honorary doctorate of law degree bestowed on the Sultan of Brunei after the leader of the Asian nation implemented a harsh, antigay, anti-woman Sharia law which calls for gay people, adulterers, and other offenders to be stoned to death. 

Following recent high-profile announcements by celebrities, fashion moguls, and LGBT groups boycotting his hotel chain, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei is now facing a call by Pink News publisher, Benjamin Cohen, for King's College London to rescind an honorary doctorate of law it bestowed upon the Sultan in 2011.

"He has just passed one of the most draconian, awful laws that has been passed on a humans rights perspective in recent years," Pink News reported Cohen saying during a Friday dinner at King's College, Cohen's alma mater. "I hope that as graduates of this university, that you put pressure on the people who run it to say that you cannot give awards to people like that."

Officials at King's College were unmoved, according to PinkNews.

"An Honorary Doctorate was bestowed upon the Sultan of Brunei in April 2011 for his lifelong commitment to higher education," College officials said in a written statement. "This preceded the introduction of Sharia Law in Brunei. We continue to monitor Foreign Office advice."

Pink News reports that the College did not respond to the news organization's query as to whether the same honor would be bestowed on the Sultan of Brunei today. PinkNews also noted that the sultan enjoys an honorary knighthood bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, as well as honors from various other universities in the United Kingdom.

Contributor: 
Thom Senzee
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