- Malawi’s famous gay couple has been refused a hearing at the country’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday.
The couple, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were arrested in December on charges of gross indecency after holding the nation's first public same-sex wedding ceremony.
The couple’s lawyer Mauya Msuku in January appealed to the Constitutional Court, arguing that the law used against the couple violated their constitutional rights to privacy, belief and self-expression.
However, Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo said the case was a simple criminal proceeding, therefore should be handled in the lower court.
"There are no elements in the case that relate to the interpretation or application of the constitution," said Justice Munlo. The trial will proceed at a lower court, and a verdict is expected on 22 March.
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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