Tuesday, 19 January 2010

West turns Africa into gay battlefield

The trial of a young male couple charged with unnatural practices and gross indecency after announcing their engagement in Malawi was adjourned last week when one of the accused collapsed in court while enduring jeers from the public gallery.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, was made to return with a mop to clean up his own vomit, even though he has malaria.

He and his boyfriend, Steven Monjeza, 26, have been held in Chichiri prison, Blantyre, for more than a week — in order, the judge says, to protect them from mob violence.

Chichiri has a reputation for overcrowding, disease and homosexual rape. The couple say they have been badly beaten and Peter Tatchell, the British gay activist, describes their conditions as appalling.

Such scenes will only increase the pressure from western human rights activists and donor countries on Malawi’s government to moderate its draconian anti-gay laws, for which the couple have provided a test case. They face up to 14 years in jail. Read more
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