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Malawi Couple Denied Bail

Jim Burroway

January 5th, 2010
Steven Monjeza (L) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (R)

Steven Monjeza (L) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (R)

The situation has gone from bad to worse for the two Malawians who were arrested on December 28 for homosexuality after holding a traditional engagement ceremony two days earlier. Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who identifies as a woman, and Steven Monjeza have pleaded not guilty to charges of “unnatural practices” and gross indecency, which carries a fourteen year prison sentence in Malawi. The two have reportedly suffered “appalling” conditions in prison, where they are being threatened with humiliating medical examinations to try to determine whether they have had sex. They also say they have been beaten by police and fellow prisoners.

Despite that, Judge Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa denied them bail yesterday, saying that the were at risk of mob violence if they were released. The couple’s lawyers rejected that claim. They are expected to go to trial on January 15.

In related news, an administrator for the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), a Malawian human rights group, was arrested on charges that the group’s HIV education materials are “pornographic.” Advocates believe the arrest was in retaliation for CEDEP’s public support for Chimbalanga and Monjeza.

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Ben
January 6th, 2010 | LINK

This whole thing is a tragedy. What’s even worse is that people will take their image and form judgments based purely on how they look.

I for one admire this proud couple for their standing up for the rights of all gay africans.

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