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KCL reviews Sultan of Brunei honour over gay stoning law

Brunei"s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Image copyright STR
Image caption Brunei"s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

The Sultan of Brunei's honorary doctorate from King's College London (KCL) could be rescinded, after his country made gay sex punishable by stoning to death.

Strict new Islamic laws have come into force in the south-east Asian nation, advocating punishment for theft by amputation.

The move has sparked international condemnation.

A university spokesman said KCL's principal had raised "urgent concerns".

The award to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, made in 2011, will now be reviewed by the Fellowships and Honorary Degrees Committee.

Georgie Spearing, president of KCL's LGBT+ Society, said: "It is entirely wrong for our institution to tacitly endorse a man who would have our LGBT+ community at KCL stoned to death.

"King's College London pays lip service to our concerns with no real changes occuring.

"A small step in the right direction is to rescind the honours degree, but far more structural changes need to occur to increase the quality of university life for our LGBT+ students."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption King's College London is urgently reviewing the Sultan of Brunei's honorary doctorate

Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The country first introduced Sharia law in 2014 despite widespread condemnation, giving it a dual legal system with both Sharia and common law.

The full Sharia penal code was fully implemented on Wednesday.

Lesbian sex carries a different penalty of 40 strokes of the cane and a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Stonewall called the situation "extremely concerning".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brunei said it would introduce death by stoning to deter "acts that are against the teachings of Islam"

Celebrities including George Clooney, Sir Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres have voiced opposition and called for a boycott of nine hotels with ties to the Sultan.

Aberdeen University has begun an "urgent review" into its own honorary degree given to Hassanal Bolkiah's in 1995.

Students at Oxford have called on the university to strip the Sultan of Brunei of his honorary degree.

A petition is under way at the School of Oriental and African Studies to rename the Brunei Gallery SOAS.

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