Brunei won’t be enforcing the death penalty for gay sex and adultery, backtracking on enforcing laws introduced in April that would have made the two acts punishable by stoning to death.
The ruler of the country, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, extended on Sunday a moratorium on the death penalty to cover the new laws.
The move comes after global outcry over the laws, including boycotts of Brunei-owned hotels and companies and celebrity protests. American actor George Clooney was vocal in his opposition to the laws and called upon people to boycott all Brunei-related businesses.
Despite its strict laws, no executions have been carried out in Brunei since 1957, according to BBC. In April, the country rolled out stricter Sharia laws.
Sunday marked the first time the sultan had spoken about the new laws, called the Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO). While confirming that the death penalty moratorium would be applicable on the SPCO, he said, “”I am aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation of the (SPCO).”
He said there “should not be any concern on the Sharia law as it is full of Allah’s mercy and blessings.” he said, according to an official translation of his address.