Arsenal’s former club record signing Nicolas Pepe has joined Turkish side Trabzonspor on a free transfer, ending a disappointing four-year spell at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners paid £72m to sign the Ivory Coast winger from Lille in 2019.
Pepe scored 27 goals in 112 games for Arsenal and spent last season on loan with French side Nice. The 28-year-old was not involved in any of the club’s matchday squads this season. Pepe had one year left on his Arsenal contract and had been their record signing until the £100m arrival of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice this summer. After a proposed move to Saudi Arabia this summer fell through, Arsenal agreed to terminate the 28-year-old’s contract a year early so that he could move to Turkey’s Super Lig.
Trabzonspor – who won the Turkish Super Lig title in 2021-22 and are currently seventh in the standings – announced Pepe’s arrival late on Thursday evening. In a video posted on the club’s social media accounts, Pepe said he has joined the club “to become a champion and achieve success.”Pepe’s relationship with Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta soured somewhat towards the end of his time at the Emirates, with the player failing to earn pitch time and then training away from the first-team squad. The winger lost his squad number when Leandro Trossard was given the number 19 shirt upon his arrival from Brighton in January.
The ‘close proximity’ law
It’s against the law in Brunei for men and women who aren’t blood relatives or married, to be alone together. This is the same as some countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. This only really applies to Bruneian Muslims, but punishments can sometimes be harsh especially when authorities suspect adultery. Things that might appear innocuous to us such as walking in the mall or sitting in the park can be illegal in Brunei.
Committing adultery is a big no-no. It is considered illegal in Brunei and can carry an archaic punishment such as stoning to death. This law is unlikely to affect tourists unless it involves a Bruneian or a Muslim.
Unmarried couples sharing a hotel room
Both the proximity and adultery laws make it illegal in Brunei for unmarried couples to share a hotel room. If you’re not married, you need to get separate rooms. This still applies if you’re in a long-term relationship and just haven’t tied the knot. Some hotels check; others don’t. The law can be murky and exceptions are sometimes made with foreign tourists. If you’re in this situation, call the hotel and double check before booking a room. Check the current government advice on visiting Brunei for up-to-date information.
Saying negative things about the Sultan
The technical term for defamation of the royal family as a crime is lèse-majesté. And lèse-majesté is illegal in Brunei. Saying or sharing anything unfavourable about the Sultan or Prince is a crime. It doesn’t matter how you feel about the Sultan of Brunei, keep any opinions to yourself.
Yes, you read that correctly. In a sense, Christmas is illegal in Brunei. December 25 isn’t a holiday and it’s against the law to put decorations up in public. Christians can attend church and celebrate in private but need to notify the authorities. The Sultan believes ‘excess and open’ celebration might undermine the role of Islam in Brunei. Punishments can be up to five years in prison or a B$40,000 ($29,336) fine.