Words: Steve Brown
George Clooney has vowed to keep pressure on Brunei despite the country backtracking on the death penalty law.
The tiny southeast Asian kingdom – which follows a strict Sharia penal code – caused international uproar last month as it introduced the death penalty law for gay men and amputations for thieves.
Following the news of the law, many celebrities including George Clooney and Sir Elton John called for boycotts of Brunei-owned hotels which sparked protests outside the Dorchester hotel in London.
But yesterday (May 6), the Sultan of Brunei revealed – following global pressure – that the country will not use the death penalty for gay sex just over a month after introducing the law.
#BRUNEI UPDATE! Gay sex will now NOT be punished by the death penalty. Following a global backlash over the incoming legislation, Brunei's #SultanHassanalBolkiah issued a rare response saying that the death penalty would not be imposed. 🌈 💛 #lovewins #protest #power— Attitude (@AttitudeMag) May 5, 2019
Although this is great news for LGBTQ citizens in Brunei, in a statement, Clooney has vowed not to back down on pressure as the country still permits stoning their citizens.
In a statement obtained by Deadline, Clooney wrote: “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.”