Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Engaged Gay Couple in Malawi Face 14 Years in Prison

"Malawi gay couple to face court after engagement"

"Two gay men arrested in Malawi after getting engaged are to be charged with gross public indecency, police say.

'We arrested them because they committed an offence; homosexuality in Malawi is illegal,' police spokesman Davie Chingwalu told the BBC.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza held a traditional engagement ceremony over the weekend - believed to be the first gay couple in Malawi to do so.

Homosexuality carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years in Malawi...

The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre says the pair have been seen relaxing at the police station with Mr Tiwonge still wearing the dress he wore at the engagement party...

CEDEP's executive director, Gift Trapence, says the laws used to arrest the couple are invalid because they are against the Bill of Rights enshrined in the 1995 constitution.

'Even if you arrest them or charge them for 20 years, you cannot change their sexual orientation. They are what they are,' he told the BBC.

'So the issue is in a democratic era - if you are arresting people based on their sexual orientation, are you doing justice to the fundamental human rights of these individuals?' he said."

Read the full article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8433640.stm

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