Gay couple takes on prison head

2013-05-19 14:04

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Johannesburg - A homosexual couple in a remand detention centre in East London have laid a criminal charge against the head of the prison because they have been placed in separate cells, the Sunday Times reported.

John Pettigrew and Greg Wiggill, who are openly gay and awaiting trial on fraud charges, claim they were discriminated against when they were separated after allegedly having sex in their cell.

They have denied being intimate while in detention and claim they were put in separate cells because the prison head disapproved of homosexuality.

Correctional services spokesperson Koos Gerber told the newspaper that the men's fellow prisoners complained that the men were engaging in sexual activities while detained together.

"A decision was then taken in the interest of good order and safety to separate them."

Gerber said two cases of crimen injuria and sexual harassment were under investigation.

Petigrew said he and Wiggill wanted to get married as soon as they could.

He said it was hoped that the legal action they were taking would also raise awareness over rights abuses in prisons.

"In communal cells, you have the issue of gangsterism and drugs.

"They are so worried about Greg and I breaking the rules, but they let gangsterism and corruption carry on."

Although many prisoners had male "wives", homosexuality in prisons remained taboo.

Wiggill and Petigrew would not elaborate on the fraud charges they face, except to say it related to money they owed a friend.

Read more on:    east london  |  gay rights

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