Amnesty accuses Zambia of violating treatise in arrests of alleged gay couple

By Melanie Nathan, May 08, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 8.10.02 AMWe have been reporting on the two young Zambian men charged with sodomy, (see related Articles below).  The men are currently detained in deplorable conditions. They have denied the charges. The arrests followed a call by Zambian authorities for people to report gays, noting that authorities were prepared to “hunt down” all known gays. The recent arrest and harsh treatment of two men accused of being a gay couple is now sparking an international outcry, while Amnesty International has called for their immediate release, and the call for Zambia to adhere to its international treatise.

The men,  Philip Mubiana, 21, and James Mwape, 20, were initially granted police bond, released and then re-arrested. They have since plead and been denied bail. The charges  include committing acts  “against the order of nature, namely sodomy”.

“I understand the charge and I plead not guilty,” the court official quoted Mwape as saying. Mubiana also pleaded not guilty in the magistrates’ court in Kapiri Mposhi.

Police allege that Mubiana played a female role in the relationship and had at times dressed as a woman.

They are expected to be in detention until their trial starts on  May 22. They also report being forced to undergo medical examinations to determine whether or not they had committed sodomy.

Amnesty International said:

“The arrest of the two men solely for their real or perceived sexual orientation amounts to discrimination and it is in violation of their rights to freedom of conscience, expression, and privacy. Laws criminalizing homosexuality and gender identity criminalize the legitimate exercise of these human rights, which are protected in treaties ratified by Zambia, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s Zambia researcher.

According to Amnesty International’s sources, the detained men have low literacy levels and a poor understanding of the Zambian legal system or their personal rights. The authorities reportedly subjected the men to anal examinations without their consent, and may have also forced them to make confessions to speed up the trial.

“Anal examinations conducted to ‘prove’ same-sex conduct are scientifically invalid, and furthermore, if they were conducted without the men’s consent, contravene the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under international law,” said Simeon Mawanza.

“Such examinations are in every case highly invasive, abusive, and profoundly humiliating. In addition, the doctors who conduct these examinations, by doing so forcibly, violate their ethical obligations towards people they examine. Any persons subjected to such abuse should be afforded appropriate remedy and must be protected from further abuse.”

The two men were reportedly first arrested on 25 April 2013 and were detained at Kapiri Mposhi police station before police released them on bail on 2 May.

Since being detained again, the men have yet to see a lawyer and have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. They are being held at Mpima Remand Prison and are due to appear before the court on 22 May.

It is believed that they were detained in an overcrowded cell at Kapiri Mposhi and denied access to food and water for about 12 hours.

“Amnesty International considers individuals imprisoned solely for their consensual sexual relationship in private as prisoners of conscience and calls for their immediate and unconditional release,” said Simeon Mawanza.

These arrests in Kapiri Mposhi are the second recent case of the Zambian authorities carrying out arrests to suppress sexual minorities and their supporters.

Last month in Lusaka a human rights activist was arrested after he appeared on television supporting LGBTI rights. He was subsequently released on bail.

Zambia detains alleged gay couple in deplorable conditions

by on May 8, 2013 in Africa, CRIME, LGBT, NEWS, WORLD, Zambia { Edit }

Source fears for their lives as they face stiff sentences By Melanie Nathan, May 08, 2013. 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 […]

Zambia gay arrests | force medical tests for sodomy on 2 men accused of gay marriage

by on May 6, 2013 in Africa, CRIME, Law, LGBT, MEDIA, NEWS, WORLD, Zambia { Edit }

By Melanie Nathan, May 06, 2013. 5/7 Update: Today the couple has been re-arrested, now denied bail, and more charges added following another tip off from relatives. We wrote recently about the police hunting for “homosexuals” in Zambia. Well its seems as if neighborhoods have joined in the cry to hunt out homosexuals and turn […]

Zambian Justice Minister seeks to justify persecution of gays

by on April 22, 2013

By Melanie Nathan, April 22, 2013. After the recent reports about anti-gay surge in Zambia with the unlawful detention of a well known HIV/AIDS activist, Paul Kasonkomona, after he was picked up for speaking about LGBT issues on a radio show,  and the further reports that gay Zambians have gone into a hiding due to […]

Zambia doubles-down with threats to ‘stiffen laws against homosexuality’

by on April 13, 2013

By Cathy Kristofferson, April 13, 2013 Very early this morning (7am BST) HIV/Aids activist Paul Kasonkomona was to speak on the Crossfire BlogRadio program about his recent arrest for advocating for gay rights. Due to legal issues surrounding his going on the radio similar to the TV appearance which sparked his arrest, along with death […]

Zambian gay rights activist released on bail

by on April 12, 2013

By Melanie Nathan, April 12, 2013. Gay rights activist Paul Kasonkomona pleaded not guilty in a Zambian court yesterday to charges of “idle and disorderly conduct by inciting the public to engage in idle and disorderly conduct by promoting illicit activities” and was released on Kr5,000 bail ($1,000USD) Kasonkomona who was picked up and detained […]

Outrage at detention of Zambian gay human rights defender

by on April 10, 2013

“My sisters and brothers, Jesus calls us to love even our enemies. Demeaning the humanity of another person is not a virtue but a vice. You don’t need reminding that the first step to genocide is demeaning your opponents’ humanity.” Reverend Kapya Kaoma By Melanie Nathan, April 10, 2013. This week we reported the detention […]

Zambian Police Hunting Homosexuals and Arrest HIV/AIDS Activist

by on April 9, 2013

Zambia – LGBTI Community under attack as scapegoats- as government discusses contentious issues in the draft constitution… By Melanie Nathan, April 09, 2013. This evening, prominent HIV/Aids activist Paul Kasonkomona was picked up from Muvi TV station in Lusaka’s mass media area by Woodlands police for questioning after his appearance on a live program called […]

Africa | Zambian Law Student Beaten Perceived Gay

by on April 7, 2012

Calling for a more calculated course to curb Africa’s anti-gay human rights path while  admonishments seem to cause backlash By Melanie Nathan, April 07, 2012 Educated people know that being gay is not a lifestyle it is simply a state of being. It is a concomitant of one’s makeup, a birth right,  if you will. […]

Zambia to Welcome Gay Rights

by on February 29, 2012

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says he knows that the Government of Zambia has formed a principled position in promoting and respecting the human rights of all, regardless of age, religion or sexual orientation, in line with the fundamental principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Zambia is a signatory.

Gay Zambia | Constitutional Recognition of Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation

by on January 21, 2012

by Charles Zambia, Guest Writer “Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in Zambia live in constant fear of detention, discrimination in education, employment, housing, and access to services, and extortion – all buttressed by the existence of sections 155 – 157 of the Penal Code and the lack of specific legal protections for LGBT people under Zambian […]

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