- Malawian police have arrested a gay rights activist for putting up gay-rights posters in Malawi's main city Blantyre, in protest of the continued detention of a newly-wed gay couple.
The couple Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were arrested in December for holding a public same-sex wedding. They are charged with gross indecency. The two have pleaded not guilty to the charge, but have been denied bail.
Peter Sawali had reportedly placed posters in the city’s main road saying: "Gay rights are human rights". He was charged with conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.
Mr Sawali’s action backs the international rights orgnisations like Amnesty International which have denounced the detention of the couple on the basis that their arrest and detention amounts to discrimination and it is in violation of their rights to freedom of conscience, expression and privacy.
The authorities recognise the existence of gays in Malawi and often call on them to come out in order to help fight AIDS in a country where 12 percent of adults have HIV.
Mr Monjeza and Mr Chimbalanga's love affair has shocked the conservative nation where homosexuality is banned by the law. They face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison if convicted.
Homosexual acts in Malawi carry a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
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