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Malawi’s president pardons jailed queer couple

After a meeting with the UN Secretary General on Saturday, Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has ordered the release of a queer couple jailed under the country’s sodomy and indecency laws.

The president said the couple committed “a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws.” More from the UK Telegraph:

"However, as the head of state I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for
their immediate release with no conditions.”

He added: “I have done this on humanitarian grounds but this does not mean
that I support this.”

On May 20, a judge in Malawi sentenced Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge
Chimbalanga to 14 years in prison with hard labour. The two were
arrested in December 2009 after they held a symbolic engagement
ceremony. Monjeza and Chimbalanga were convicted of “unnatural acts"
and “gross indecency.”

The Dec 28, 2009 issue of Malawian newspaper The Nation. Pictured: Monjeza (left) and Chimbalanga (right).
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also expected to address Malawian legislators and ask for changes to the country’s anti-homosexuality laws, reports the Telegraph.

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