Brunei reverses on death by stoning for gay sex after international outcry

Brunei reverses on death by stoning for gay sex after international outcry
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Brunei has reportedly extended a moratorium on legislation that would make homosexual sex and adultery punishable by death amid outrage from around the world. 

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, made the move on Sunday, according to Reuters. Bolkiah said that the death penalty would not be included in the new criminal code that punishes sodomy, adultery and rape with death and death by stoning. 

"I am aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation of the [Syariah Penal Code Order] SPCO. However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident,” the sultan said in a speech, according to Reuters.

“As evident for more than two decades, we have practiced 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,"  Bolkiah continued, adding that both common law and Shariah law "aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country."

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Brunei sparked backlash earlier this year after unveiling its interpretation of Islamic laws.

Actor George Clooney called for a boycott of luxury hotels owned by ruler of Brunei just a week before the laws were rolled out in April. 

Brunei in 2014 became the first nation in East Asia to adopt Shariah law. The government announced stricter laws related to sex around the same time, according to CNN

The nation had delayed full enforcement of the laws until this year. Brunei announced in a statement on its attorney general's website in December that it would begin enforcing statutes including death by stoning by April. 

Homosexuality can already lead to prison sentences of up to 10 years in the nation. 

--Updated 1:41 p.m.