Following the Sultan of Brunei’s decision to back down on death penalty laws for those engaging in gay sexual acts, George Clooney, who has been a pivotal part of the global outcry against the country’s acerbic and inhumane legal codes, issued a statement today in response to the country’s reversal.
“This is a huge step forward after a giant leap backwards. It promises that the citizens of Brunei won’t be executed for being gay. It also sends a very crucial message to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia that there is a cost for enacting these laws. And the cost isn’t folks boycotting their hotels. The cost is that corporations and big banks won’t do business with you. The financial institutions stepping up had a huge impact. Having said that, the law to stone their citizens is still in place. Meaning that as soon as the pressure dies down they could simply start the process of carrying out executions. So in reference to the boycott everyone should do what they feel is correct. For my family and me we simply can’t walk away until this draconian law is no longer on the books,” said Clooney.
Clooney, together with Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres and big corps such as JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank called for a boycott of the Sultan’s nine luxury hotels that he owns around the globe after he announced severe new punishments against the LGBTQ community. In the case of the financial institutions, they told their staffs to avoid the Sultan’s hotels. Two-time Oscar winner Clooney put a horrifying face on the potential made possible by the Syariah Penal Code Order in two guest columns written exclusively for Deadline.
Wrote Clooney: “The 5th richest country in the world would take a young woman who is found to be gay, bury her up to her neck and have 25 men throw stones at her head until she is dead…”
“Both the common law and the Shariah law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country. They are also crucial in protecting the morality and decency of the public as well as respecting the privacy of individuals,” the Sultan added.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland on Monday praised the moratorium on the death penalty but also urged Brunei to revoke other harsh punishments such as the amputations and floggings. Brunei is a member of the Commonwealth.