Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei, during his country’s Golden Jubilee celebration in 2017. (Courtesy of ProudBruneian, via Wikipedia)

The Sultan of Brunei has announced that portions of the Syariah (Sharia) Penal Code Order, including the one declaring that gays would be executed by stoning, will not be enforced, according to a report at LGBTQNation.com.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah released a statement saying, in part, “As evident for more than two decades, we have practiced a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law. This will also be applied to cases under the SPCO which provides a wider scope for remission.

“Both the common law and the Syariah law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country. They are also crucial in protecting the morality and decency of the country as well as the privacy of individuals.”

The sultan’s statement comes in the wake of widespread backlash following his announcement earlier this year that the country would follow Shariah law, which calls for those convicted of sodomy, adultery and rape to be stoned to death. After the sultan made that announcement, Perez Hilton outed one of the sultan’s sons as a gay man and numerous media outlets published reports on his brother’s lavish lifestyle, which allegedly included wild spending and several affairs.

A long list of high-profile celebrities — including Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John — have been calling for a boycott of hotel properties owned by the sultan. LGBTQNation also noted that tourism ads calling Brunei “an abode of peace” have been pulled in London following complaints from commuters there, and Virgin Airlines, based in England dropped a Brunei airline from serving its customers.