Sydney, April 5: The Australian arm of Richard Branson-led Virgin brand, Virgin Australia has ended a deal with Brunei's national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines in response to southeast Asian country's adoption of Islamic sharia law, including the death penalty for gay sex. The agreement allowed Virgin Australia staff to book discounted tickets on Royal Brunei flights for leisure travel.
This move from Richard Branson's Australian arm, second-biggest airline after Qantas in the country, was confirmed in an email sent to employees explaining the new sharia law introduced by the southeast Asian kingdom of Brunei. Gay Sex and Adultery Will Be Punishable by Stoning to Death, Brunei Announces Draconian Punishment From April 3.
“Given the harsh (including death) penalties being introduced for activity that is legal and acceptable in Australia, the myID (staff travel) agreement between Virgin Australia and Royal Brunei has now been terminated effective immediately,” the email said. LA Officials Call for Boycott of Brunei-owned Hotels.
The island nation adopted the laws on Wednesday, April 3. The country introduced the death penalty by stoning for engaging in same-sex intercourse and adultery. The new law was announced in 2014 and rolled out gradually. Although homosexuality was illegal in the country, this law makes it punishable with death.
The move from Brunei is receiving heavy criticism from around the world. Foreign media and several celebrities have slammed the law. The United Nations labelled new Sharia law as "clear violation" of human rights. American actor George Clooney called for a boycott of hotels having links to Brunei.