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Malawi Couple Denied Bail A Second Time, Lawmakers Consider Harsher Punishments for LGBTs

Jim Burroway

January 29th, 2010
Steven Monjeza (R) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (L)

Steven Monjeza (R) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (L)

Malawi’s High Court Judge Rowland Mbvundula has refused an appeal seeking bail for, the couple who were arrested on December 28 and charged with “gross indecency” following a traditional engagement ceremony. Tiwonge identifies as a woman and may be intersex. She was banished from her village when she was thirteen.

Steven and Tiwonge have reported repeated mistreatment in the hands of police, prison officials, fellow prisoners, and even court officials during trial. Malawi’s Nyasa Times reports that the High Court judge denied the bail on appeal for the couple’s own protection:

Judge Mbvundula also pointed out the same in his ruling: “In the current circumstances, the state is validly concerned about and interested in the applicants’ safety and justified to be wary of releasing them into the community, at least for the time being.”

State prosecutor Dickens Mwambazi objected to the bail appeal saying the police  fear the couple, who have pleaded not guilty, would “tamper with evidence” if released on bail.

Malawi Gay Rights Movement (Magrim) announced that they will hold a demonstration on Sunday in Blantyre, Malawi’s financial capital and largest city.

The arrests in Malawi, a former British colony, has been condemned  by British and Scottish lawmakers. That condemnation, in turn, was denounced by Kondwani Nankuluma of the Legal Affairs committee of Malawi’s Parliament:

“We are following our laws and proceeding with the case for the two in the courts. They have no part in this business as we have laws and we are following it. Why do they keep pestering us to release the two?” he said.

AfricaNews.com reports that Malawi’s Parliament will begin deliberation into adding harsher punishments to the country’s anti-homosexuality law. Malawi’s current law carries a maximum sentence of fourteen years’ imprisonment.

Comments

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KZ
January 30th, 2010 | LINK

If Malawi’s Parliament wants guidance on what kind of harsher punishments to implement, it could always invite the three stooges for help. Paging Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundige…

Geoffrey
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

If the Judge is so concerned why not arrange Refugee Status. They could stay with us in Melbourne Australia if their safety is so important.
Jails in homophobic countries are torture chambers for the defendants and XXX rated movie CCTV entertainment for the guards.

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