LONDON: Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (pix) has returned an honorary degree awarded by Britain’s Oxford University after a global backlash led by celebrities including George Clooney and Elton John following his proposal to impose the death penalty for gay sex and adultery. Nearly 120,000 people had signed a petition by April calling on Oxford University to rescind the honorary law degree awarded in 1993 to the sultan, the world’s second-longest reigning monarch and prime minister of the oil-rich country. Oxford University said the sultan had decided to hand back the honorary degree on May 6, while it was reviewing its decision to award it. News of the decision was made public on Thursday. “As part of the review process, the university wrote to notify the sultan on April 26, 2019, asking for his views by June 7, 2019,“ the university said in an emailed statement to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Through a letter dated May 6, 2019, the sultan replied with his decision to return the degree.” The small Southeast Asian country sparked an outcry when it rolled out its interpretation of Islamic laws on April 3, punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with death, including by stoning. Seeking to temper… Read full this story
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