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Malawi court convicts gay couple


Camy

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A court in Malawi has convicted a gay couple of gross indecency and unnatural acts.

Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were arrested in December 2009 after celebrating their engagement ahead of a wedding planned for 2010.

They have been in jail ever since and could now face 14 years in prison.

Their arrest had sparked international condemnation and a debate about homosexuality in the country.

Judge Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa convicted both men of engaging in gay sex which he said was "against the order of nature". They are to be sentenced on 20 May.

Same-sex liaisons are frowned upon in Malawi, where homosexual acts are outlawed.

They had denied the charges and their lawyers said their constitutional rights had been violated.

But the Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) and the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) have been urging authorities to relax the country's stance on homosexuals.

The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre says the government is also coming under pressure from Western donors over the issue.

For a poor country, 40% of whose development budget depends on donors, that is no mean threat, he adds.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/10121618.stm

I am constantly reminded that I'm lucky to be living in a country that is tolerant of my sexuality: not that one's sexuality should be anyone else's business.

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Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/10121618.stm

I am constantly reminded that I'm lucky to be living in a country that is tolerant of my sexuality: not that one's sexuality should be anyone else's business.

I know what you mean Camy, but consider that when I was 17 and never been kissed by more than one man at a time, the only place that homosexuality was legal, so I was told at the time, was Sweden. The rest of the world treated us as criminals. Locally, here in South Australia an act of gross indecency with another male could see you imprisoned for up to 2 years with hard labour. Police actively sought out gay men and employed young police trainees as decoys in beats. Homes were invaded and if you shared your house with another man you had to be able to show two separate bedrooms. There were no clubs, bars or bath-houses and certainly no gay-straight associations.

Most men didn't even realise they could have a romantic relationship with each other, thinking that they were as depraved and as beastly as the rest of society believed them to be. Only a few older men were able to keep the idea of same sex love alive, by handing it down from their generation to the next. (Not paedophiles by the way.)

We were lucky to survive at all.

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