06 May 2019 :
Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has said gay sex will not be punished with the death penalty after he faced global backlash over the incoming legislation, the Evening Standard reported on 5 May 2019.
The sultan extended a moratorium on the death penalty for gay sex, seeking to temper a global backlash led by celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John.
The small Southeast Asian country sparked an outcry when it rolled out its interpretation of Islamic laws, or sharia, last month, punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with death, including by stoning.
In a rare response to criticism aimed at the oil-rich state, the sultan said the death penalty would not be imposed in the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO).
Some crimes already command the death penalty in Brunei, including premeditated murder and drug trafficking, but no executions have been carried out since the 1990s.