Zambian men acquitted of gay charges

2014-07-03 20:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kapiri Mposhi - Two Zambian men charged with having consensual gay sex have been acquitted after magistrates said the state failed to provide sufficient evidence in the high-profile case.

Philip Mubiana and James Mwape, both in their early 20s, had been held since May last year and faced 15 years or more in jail for having sexual relations "against the order of nature".

The pair's lawyer William Ngwira said it was a "welcome" ruling, but added: "We are only sad that our clients have been in detention for over a year."

The case had drawn the attention of rights groups and foreign governments, concerned that Zambia may be toughening its stance on gay rights following stricter new laws in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa.

In February, another Zambian magistrate acquitted top gay rights activist Paul Kasonkomona on charges of encouraging homosexuality after concluding that the prosecution failed to prove its case.

"The case should send a message to police, prosecutors and communities that it is not acceptable to witch-hunt people," said Anneke Meerkotter, a lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

"Actions driven by stigma and prejudice can cause immense suffering, not just of the people who were arrested, but also of their families."

'Give us economic aid'

Zambia's tough anti-homosexuality laws date back to the British colonial era and public opinion remains strongly against gays and lesbians.

Mubiana and Mwape were arrested in 2013 after being reported to the police by one of Mubiana's relatives.

As he left the court a free man, Mubiana said "I now want to go and study law."

But his grandmother, who was in court, said she was disappointed with the verdict.

"How I am going to have great grandchildren to look after me? I am old and I need children to look after me. This is not right, the law should be followed," she said.

Outside the court in Kapiri Mposhi, the small town 200km north of Lusaka where the trial took place, residents denounced Western governments for their support of the couple.

"Give us economic aid and not this rubbish. This is a Christian nation and we shall not allow same sex marriages. If you don't want to help us go back" local politician Kelvin Mukuka shouted at a European diplomat.

Read more on:    zambia  |  southern africa  |  gay rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.