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Brunei Says It Will No Longer Stone Gays to Death

Brunei Backs Off Stoning Of Gays

The Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah says new laws still have merit, but will not be enforced. 

Brunei leaders say they will no longer stone someone to death for being gay.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah extended a moratorium on the controversial death penalty on Sunday and won't enforce new laws, according to the BBC. The timid backtrack follows wide international condemnation of plans to start executing men for having sex with one another or committing adultery.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Alliance recently called the new laws 'vicious' and 'abhorrent,' the most dehumanizing laws implemented in decades. Meanwhile, the homophobic stance inspired protests at properties around the globe owned by the Sultan of Brunei, including the high-end Beverly Hills Hotel in California.

Outcry surfaced immediately after the Sultan's government announced it would begin punishing LGBTQ individuals. The decision immediately put the wealthy vacation destination on the same footing as such groups like ISIS and the nation of Iran.

But in a Sunday speech, the Sultan said he became aware of "many questions and misperceptions" about the implementation of Sharia Penal Code Order. He maintained the laws still have merit, but said a moratorium on the death penalty will be expanded to include the laws.

The nation has been introducing Sharia Law into its system since 2014. On April 3, the most recent phase in implementation called for stonings for the crimes of rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery or defaming Mohammad.

Currently, homosexuality among men still remains illegal and punishable by 10 years in jail in Brunei. And lesbian sex carries a different penalty of 40 lashes with a cane and 10 years in jail.

While stoning is off these books, other laws will remain in effect including it being a finable offense to teach children to accept teachings outside of Islam as well as limbs being cut off for those guilty of theft.

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