Madonna condemns Malawi
Blantyre - Pop superstar Madonna said Saturday she was "shocked" at the sentencing of a Malawian gay couple for 14 years for sodomy, after they held the African country's first same-sex wedding.
Madonna, who has adopted two children from the poor nation and runs several charity projects here, said the imprisonment of Steven Monjeza, 26, and his 20-year-old partner Tiwonge Chimbalanga was a violation of basic human rights.
"I am shocked and saddened by the decision made this week by the Malawian court, which sentenced two innocent men to prison," said Madonna in a statement on the website of her charity Raising Malawi.
"As a matter of principle, I believe in equal rights for all people, no matter what their gender, race, colour, religion, or sexual orientation," said Madonna, who is building a 15-million-dollar academy for girls in Malawi.
"This week, Malawi took a giant step backward. The world is filled with pain and suffering; therefore, we must support our basic human right to love and be loved."
She urged "progressive men and women of Malawi - and around the world - to challenge this decision in the name of human dignity and equal rights for all."