King’s College London refuses to revoke Sultan of Brunei’s honorary degree

Hassanal Bolkiah has imposed stone-the-gays Sharia Law in Brunei, but KCL will not strip him of degree

King’s have refused to strip the Sultan of Brunei of his honorary degree – even after he imposed Sharia Law earlier this year.

Hassanal Bolkiah was awarded a degree in Law in 2011, but KCL are refusing the rescind the honour – even after The Sultan imposed stone-the-gays laws in Brunei.

And now, KCL students are putting pressure on the uni to sever ties with the shamed Sultan.


But, KCL have said that they will not revoke the award. The university claimed that it is following the advice of the Foreign Office and that as the degree was awarded before the implementation of these laws that they would not act to distance themselves from the Sultan. They have also not replied to the question set to them by PinkNews as to whether he would receive the same award today.

Sharia Law orders the stoning of homosexuals and those who commit adultery, and was approved by the the Sultan earlier this year.

Since these laws were enacted, there has been strong protest against the regime, including the boycotting of the Sultan’s brand of hotels, including ‘The Dorchester’ in London, by many celebrities and organisations, such as Sharon Osbourne, Sir Richard Branson, Stephen Fry and Ellen DeGeneres. There has also been mounting pressure on King’s College London to retract the Honorary Degree that was awarded to the Sultan in Brunei in 2011 for his “lifelong commitment to higher education.”

KCLSU has joined the voices of Lord Deben, ex-Conservative Party Chair, and PinkNews founder Benjamin Cohen, calling for King’s to revoke the award. Deben said in an interview to PinkNews that an Honorary Degree indicates the support of a rational legal system, and “Stoning women accused of adultery and gay people for being gay shows that the Sultan simply does not”.

Benjamin Cohen, Pink News founder, is also an alumni of KCL. Last week, he was quoted at a graduation dinner of saying to the graduates “I hope you put pressure on the people who run it [KCL] to say that you cannot give awards to people like that”.

Though pressure continues to mount on KCL to change this decision, since their initial announcement, the university has remained quiet on the issue.