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Malawi Couple Pleads Not Guilty

Jim Burroway

December 30th, 2009

According to the BBC, the male couple who were arrested for participating in a symbolic traditional engagement ceremony have appeared in court to plead not guilty and ask for bail.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza appeared in court at Blatyre, Malawi’s largest city, on Monday. The BBC reports the court room was packed with large crowds of onlookers. Some people congratulated them but other shouted insults. Also:

Prosecutors say they will send the pair to hospital to prove they have had sex together.

…Mr Monjeza, 26, hinted that he may consider calling off the proposed wedding, as he was sent back to prison.”I am sad I am going back to Chichiri Prison,” he said. “The condition are terrible there. People are exaggerating this thing. I may just as well dissolve this marriage.”Mr Chimbalanga, 20, dressed in women’s clothes, refused to speak to journalists, beyond accusing them of writing “stupid” things.

Homosexuality in Malawi carries a maximum sentence of fourteen years’ imprisonment.

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