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L.A. will press boycott of Beverly Hills Hotel despite Brunei death penalty reprieve

L.A. will press boycott of Beverly Hills Hotel despite Brunei death penalty reprieve
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz says he will ask the city to continue to boycott the Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel. (Associated Press)

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz said he will ask the city to continue to boycott the Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel although the leader of Brunei said the country will not impose the death penalty on those convicted of having gay sex.

In a speech Sunday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said he would extend a moratorium on capital punishment and ratify the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture.

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But the move was not enough for Koretz, who authored a resolution passed by the City Council last month calling for the boycott of the hotels, which are owned by the government of Brunei.

“The sultan’s recent statements showed a step in the right direction by agreeing to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture and it shows that he was hearing our message loud and clear, not just the hotel boycotts here in Los Angeles but also around the world,” Koretz said. “But as long as homosexuality is still criminalized in the country and women can be brutally whipped for adultery, it seems like his response is simply lip service to save the almighty dollar.”

Sultan Hassanal recently announced that, effective April 3, anyone charged with adultery or homosexuality would be stoned to death in accordance with sharia law, though no such sentence is believed to have been carried out.

The L.A. council’s resolution says the city will refrain from conducting business at the two hotels, including participating in any event or other business that requires city resources and officially discourages all city employees and residents from staying at or attending any functions at either hotel unless and until the government of Brunei repeals “these cruel and inhumane laws.”

Actor George Clooney is at the forefront of the push to boycott the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Hotel Bel-Air and seven properties in Europe owned by the government-owned Brunei Investment Agency. Sultan Hassanal holds supreme power in the oil-rich nation.

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