- Brunei is planning to implement the Sharia Penal Code, which calls for the stoning of people who commit a variety of sexual ‘crimes’
- Currently, homosexuality is punishable by up to 10 years in prison
- The United Nations already has warned that Brunei’s new penal code violates international human rights standards
- The Sultan also owns The Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, 45 Park Lane in London and Le Meurice in Paris
An LGBT advocacy group has moved the location of a conference it is planning to hold later this year from the Beverly Hills Hotel to a different location in protest of anti-gay policies being adopted by the Sultan of Brunei – the owner of the hotel – that calls for homosexuals to be stoned to death.
The Gill Action Fund, which was founded by activist Tim Gill, was scheduled to host its ‘Winning the Heartland’ conference for political donors at the Hotel from May 1-4.
However, because of the draconian laws regarding ‘sexual crimes’ Brunei is set to adopt later this month, the group has canceled its conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel and is looking for a new location.
‘In light of the horrific anti-gay policy approved by the Government of Brunei, Gill Action made the decision earlier today to relocate its conference from the Beverly Hills Hotel to another property,’ Gill Action Executive Director Kirk Fordham told washingtonblade.com. ‘We are seeking a return of all deposits.’
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced last year that his tiny, oil-rich nation would begin to implement a Shariah Penal Code in his country, which calls for grisly executions of anyone committing a variety of sexual ‘crimes,’ including sodomy, adultery and rape.
‘By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled,’ the sultan said at a legal conference in Brunei’s capital last year.
The law would apply only to Muslims, who comprise about two-thirds of the population of nearly 420,000 people. The others follow mainly Buddhist, Christianity and indigenous beliefs.
Brunei’s Mufti Awang Abdul Aziz, the country’s top Islamic scholar, said last year that Shariah law ‘guarantees justice for everyone and safeguards their well-being.’
‘Let us not just look at the hand-cutting or the stoning or the caning per se, but let us also look at the conditions governing them,’ Awang said. ‘It is not indiscriminate cutting or stoning or caning. There are conditions and there are methods that are just and fair.’
Under secular laws, Brunei already prescribes caning as a penalty for crimes including immigration offenses, for which convicts can be flogged with a rattan cane.
The United Nations already has criticized Brunei’s adoption of the Sharia Penal Code, claiming it does not meet international human rights standards.
‘Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited,” UN High Commission on Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville said last week.
Even before the new penal code was adopted, homosexual acts were punishable by up to 10 years in prison in Brunei.