Zambia detains alleged gay couple in deplorable conditions

Source fears for their lives as they face stiff sentences

By Melanie Nathan, May 08, 2013.

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The accused seen through a window in the Courtroom

Police in Kapiri Mposhi have revoked police bond for two men arrested over the weekend for engaging in homosexuality after they were found in the act again, according to reports out of Zambia.  ZANIS reports that Central Province Commissioner of Police Standwell Lungu confirmed the development in an interview in Kapiri Mposhi, today.

Over the weekend police arrested James Mwape and Philp Mubiana both aged 21 and residents of Ndeke Compound in Kapiri Mposhi for engaging in Homosexuality. They were released on police bond to relatives and ordered to keep apart.

Lungu said the suspects, who broke bond, will now be kept in police custody pending court appearance. He said the couple was discovered in the act last night and was apprehended by their relatives in Ndeke Compound. Police have since slapped additional counts on the couples.

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An accused looking through cell door

The Police Commissioner said the Medical Tests carried out on the two at the Hospital today proved consistent to the report that they engaged in anal sex last night.

“ We have revoked police bond and re-arrested the two men for again engaging in the act which they were arrested on in the first place they will remain in custody until they appear in court.. we have given them more counts”, Mr. Lungu said.

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A crowd tries to get into the court

According to my source in Kapiri Mposhi, who cannot be named for fear of safety, the young men who are incarcerated are being charged with “acts against the order of nature; sodomy.”

The young men were forced to undergo humiliating and invasive treatment  during the medical  examination, which included a “swab test”  to try and establish whether any sexual penetration had occurred between the two of them.

My source met with family who are extremely poor and said the men do not have a lawyer.  An organization known as the Southern African Litigation Center SALC, may pay for his legal fees, once a lawyer is retained.

My source informs me that it is a very disturbing scene with community and neighbors reacting to Zambian authorities call to “hunt” and “turn in” homosexuals. If it were not for this, I was told, it would have been unlikely that the young men, who had previously been living peacefully, would have been turned in in this way.  My source told me:-

“I broke down in tears to see the conditions and state they are in; they are in a jail which is meant for 5 people but houses 20 people. Because of the charges they are in danger from the others. Lord please get them out of there, if it was my will I would have them leave the country now, they will surely die if sentence to the maximum prison.”

Today, Wednesday, May 8, they appeared before the Magistrate Judge and pleaded not guilty. Their trial is scheduled to begin May 22. Until then, they were ordered to remain in jail without bail.

An activist in Zambia, also choosing to remain unnamed, informed me that judging by the media that attended the first plea hearing at Court,  the Zambian government intends to make an example of this young couple. Since the call by Zambian authorities to go after gays, a witch hunt atmosphere has developed in the country and this latest arrest comes in the face of next week’s  trial of a high profile HIV/AIDS activist, Paul Kasonkomona, who was picked up from Muvi TV station in Lusaka by Woodlands police for questioning after his appearance on a live program called ‘The Assignment’, where he called for same-sex relationships to be decriminalized.

We will keep updating.
Melanie Nathan
[email protected]

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9 thoughts on “Zambia detains alleged gay couple in deplorable conditions

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