An anti-government Bruneian online forum has shared an Instagram post allegedly made by Prince Aleem, nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, criticising the country’s new anti-gay laws.
The prince posted his opposition to the laws due to be enforced on 3 April which include the death penalty for homosexual acts and adultery.
“In light of the recent news surrounding Brunei, I feel as a Bruneian, I should address this.
“I have had so many messages surrounding this topic and I believe addressing it will hopefully put some light on the situation. All views are my own.
“Despite not being part of the LGBQT+ community myself, I have met so many people who are part of it. I can easily say they are some of the best and nicest people I’ve ever met.
“If we go back to 2013, the same article was present. From what I’ve been told, it may not be true, but I’ve been lied to and disappointed before.
“This, if this news is to be true, I will be very disappointed. No one should be judged and punished for living their life the way they want to live it. Those in the community deserves better and not to be treated like animals.
“We are all human after all.”
“Why judge someone because of their race, religion, and sexuality.”
“It’s 2019 and the world hasn’t changed much. I do not understand some people and their ideology.
“You talk about human rights, but this is not human rights? By judging someone like this proves hypocrisy. I do not stand by it whatsoever.
“I am so sorry for those who are affected or feel looked down on.”
The post is somewhat remarkable because the prince’s uncle Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is an absolute dictator and dissension among the royal family is unheard of.
The post was quickly deleted, and Prince Aleem’s Instagram account taken down.
However, before it was taken down it was liked by at least 66 people including Joe Cokanasiga, a member of the English national rugby union team who played rugby in Brunei as a 15-year-old when his father was stationed there as an officer in the British Army.
Although the introduction of the laws is being presented as a staged implementation after being first announced in 2014, Bruneians speculate the timing has been contrived by the Minister of Religious Affairs to distract from what is known locally as the ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ case, the trial of the minister’s son and daughter-in-law for corruptly stealing millions from Brunei government coffers.
The popular image of the Sultan as much loved by his subjects is disproved by online forums where Bruneians speak honestly of their contempt for the regime. The Sultan’s image is carefully curated by the government-owned and controlled press, which is yet to mention the implementation of Sharia law.
The people who will be subject to the law are only learning of it through online international media.
Locals assume Prince Aleem is unlikely to suffer any penalty for his opposition. The royal family is above the law. Even his uncle Price Jefri, accused of embezzling nearly 15 billion dollars from the Brunei Investment Agency, was welcomed back into the bosom of the family.
Jefri used the stolen billions to fund an extravagant lifestyle that included harems, a yacht called Tit with tenders Nipple 1 and Nipple 2 and commissioned life-size statues of himself and a fiancé having sex.
The laws also only apply inside Brunei, which exempts the royals who will simply confine any activity illegal in Brunei to their foreign jaunts. Locals already laugh at the manner in which the royal family celebrates Christmas overseas, while the Sultan bans it at home.
The sultan’s favourite son spends much of his time in London and is known for lavish parties that have included guests such as Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.
In 2016, gay Olympian Gus Kenworthy posted a photo of himself, boyfriend Matthew Wilkas and Caitlyn Jenner at Azim’s birthday party but quickly deleted the post after comments questioning the judgement of LGBTIQ celebrities partying on Brunei’s dime.
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