Malawi Gay Couple May Face 14 Years In Prison

Posted Jan 19, 2010 by Bryen Dunn
A Malawi gay couple is being subjected to grave humiliation and unfair justice as a result of their recent decision to participate in a local marriage ceremony.
At the Bangalore Pride Parade
A reveller at the Bangalore Gay Pride Parade
by nickjohnson
While many westernized nations around the world are progressing, albeit slowly in some places such as the United States, many nations still persecute members of the LGBT community solely for being who they are. Recently a male couple chose to participate in a marriage ceremony in the African replublic of Malawi, a region where gay lifestyle is shunned upon, most likely as a result of ignorance. It is a very brave move for anyone to stand up and take a stance, and I think global organizations such as United Nations and Amnesty International need to get involved immmediately to prevent these two innocent individuals from going to jail.
Malawi's government recently defended the prosecution of this couple, and Information Minister Leckford Mwanza Thoto noted that Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were clearly breaking the laws of Malawi. He was quoted in the Mail and Guardian online as saying, "Despite Malawi depending on international aid, the country is a sovereign country with its own laws and must not be influenced by the West in the running of its affairs of state."
Monjeze and Chimbalanga were arrested on December 28th after holding a wedding ceremony in Blantyre. They face up to 14 years in prison if convicted. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been remanded in custody after failing to secure bail.
The men's lawyers are arguing that the prosecution is unconstitutional and have asked for a review of the country's homosexuality laws. Their legal team has asked for the case to be held before the Constitutional Court, but the presiding judge in Blantyre has said he will continue with the trial until the higher court accepts the case. The trial is expected to resume next week.
Since their arrest the police and government has allowed these men to be publicly ridiculed, held in jail without sufficient reason, and have succumbed to considerable stress and inhumane living conditions that has brought on severe illness and health concerns. The time to act is now. Send word out to the world that ignorance, disrimination and inhumanity will not be tolerated.
Government of Malawi -
United Nations -
Amnesty International -