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

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