Beginning April 3, Brunei, a former British enclave sandwiched between two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo, will make gay sex and adultery punishable by death by stoning, according to multiple reports. The new laws, however, will only apply to the country's Muslims, which make up around two-thirds of the country's population.
"I commend my friend, George Clooney, for taking a stand against the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry taking place in the nation of Brunei — a place where gay people are brutalized, or worse — by boycotting the sultan's hotels," the 72-year-old best-selling singer tweeted Saturday, listing the nine hotels to boycott, including London's exclusive Dorchester hotel and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) March 30, 2019
"Our hearts go out to the good, hardworking employees of properties owned by the Sultan of Brunei, many of whom we know to be gay," John carefully added in another Saturday tweet.
"Every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels, we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery," George Clooney wrote in an opinion piece for Deadline.
The draconian penal code, first introduced in 2013, has seen its implementation delayed due to widespread, international condemnation. Homosexuality was already illegal in the small sultanate and punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but the new changes, which will take effect on April 3, permit execution by whipping or stoning for Muslims found guilty of sodomy, as well as rape or adultery, Sputnik previously reported.
Within the country, there has been no vocal opposition to the penal code, Sputnik reported previously. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has ruled the country since 1967 and first introduced his own version of sharia Islamic law interpreted from the Qur'an and the Sunnah (the traditions) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, to the southeast Asian nation.