Two Malawi gay men have been sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labour, after being convicted of “gross indecency” and “unnatural acts.”
"Handing down sentence in the commercial capital, Blantyre, Judge
Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa told the pair: ‘I will give you a scaring sentence
so that the public be protected from people like you, so that we are
not tempted to emulate this horrendous example.’” (read more at the BBC)
Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were arrested in December 2009 after they held a symbolic engagement ceremony.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission says the ruling “is part of a broader pattern of mounting pressure and persecution on LGBT people by authorities in Malawi.” Read more:
"This persecution has come from the highest levels of government. On April 23rd, President Bingu wa Mutharika reportedly denounced homosexuality as ‘un-Malawian,’ ‘evil’ and ‘disgusting’ and linked it to corruption, violence, theft and prostitution. Days later, on April 26th and again on the 27th, police appeared at a conference on the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations in HIV/AIDS programming. Police demanded the names of conference organizers, seized copies of the conference program, and inquired about specific individuals believed to be in attendance. Police refused to present a warrant or justification for the intimidation."
Amnesty International has repeatedly called for the immediate and unconditional release of the two men, who have been held in custody since their arrest in December.
"Criminalization of individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation
or gender identity is banned under treaties ratified by Malawi,
including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” says an Amnesty press release.
Read more on Xtra.ca:
- Judge delays verdict in Malawian gay couple’s case
- ’We only have two gays in Malawi’: authorities
- Malawi won’t back down on charges against gay couple
- Lawyers for gay Malawian men challenge ban on homosexuality
- Xtra reports from inside Uganda