Brunei Won’t Enforce Death by Stoning Punishment for Gay Sex

However, the barbaric law has yet to be fully repealed.

The Sultan of Brunei has confirmed that the nation won’t enforce its law penalizing gay sex and adultery with whipping, torture, or death by stoning.

According to The Independent, the Sultan specifically issued a moratorium on implementing the penalty, part of strict Islamic Sharia law, in response to the outpouring of anger worldwide. (Prior to this policy, gay sex was already illegal in Brunei; however, it was only punishable by a prison sentence.)

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Activists in London demonstrate outside a British hotel owned by the ultra-wealthy Sultan of Brunei.

The news comes after months of outrage and backlash from LGBTQ advocates and allies around the world, including protests, boycotts, and public condemnation from celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and George Clooney.

However, it’s definitely a political U-turn for the southeast Asian country.

Previously, leading government officials in Brunei had defended the barbaric punishment for gay sex as a policy meant to “rehabilitate and nurture” LGBTQ people. The law’s implementation prompted queer Bruneians to fear for their lives—and, in many cases, flee the country as refugees.

In response to the Sultan’s moratorium, HRC insisted that the “draconian law” still needs to be repealed entirely.

Prominent LGBTQ activists, including Voices4 organizer Adam Eli and queer Muslim activist Blair Imani, celebrated the pause as a victory for LGBTQ people in Brunei.

Imani also highlighted the work that remains to be done, echoing HRC’s sentiment that the fight for justice in Brunei and beyond is far from over:

Meanwhile, the Trump administration remains silent on the issue, refusing to speak out against the life-threatening human rights violations at work in Brunei.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.