Aberdeen University will not revoke honour for Sultan of Brunei despite stone-the-gays law

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The University of Aberdeen is the latest in the UK to refuse to rescind an honour given to the Sultan of Brunei, despite that he enacted a law in April which allows gay people to be stoned to death.

In April the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah gave approval to Brunei’s revised penal code, which urges death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

Aberdeen University awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree in 1995.

Noting that rescinding an honour would “require quite a long and formal process”, a spokesperson said the university had “no plans to pursue it”.

The Sultan, whose family has governed Brunei for 600 years and whose fortune is estimated at $13 billion (£7.75 billion), received an honorary knighthood from the Queen in 1992 and has been awarded a string of honours by British universities, including an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Oxford.

Yesterday Oxford University also refused to revoke an Honorary Doctorate in Law given to the Sultan. The university refused to comment.

Former Conservative Party Chairman Lord Deben, also yesterday criticised King’s College London for rejecting calls by the publisher of PinkNews to rescind another Honorary Law Doctorate given to the Sultan in 2011.

Labour MP Diane Abbott also questioned the decision of King’s College London not to rescind the honour.

PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen spoke at a graduation dinner at King’s at the weekend, and called for the honour to be withdrawn.

A King’s spokesperson said the college would not rescind the honour, given that it was awarded before the new law was introduced.