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Malawi Hub



04/19/2007


Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga Freed

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What great news to wake up to this morning.

Malawai President Bingu wa Mutharika has officially pardoned Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, the gay couple who had been sentenced earlier this month to 14 years of hard labor under sodomy and indecency laws. You may remember that they were originally arrested after holding a public wedding ceremony in December.

President wa Mutharika clearly bowed to mounting pressure. His statement, according to the Daily Telegraph:

"These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws, however, as the head of state I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for their immediate release with no conditions. I have done this on humanitarian grounds but this does not mean that I support this."

Update

White House Presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs has just released a statement about today's pardon:

"The White House is pleased to learn of President Bingu wa Mutharika's pardon of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza. These individuals were not criminals and their struggle is not unique. We must all recommit ourselves to ending the persecution and criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity. We hope that President Mutharika's pardon marks the beginning of a new dialogue which reflects the country's history of tolerance and a new day for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in Malawi and around the globe."


Protest Planned at NYC Malawi Consulate Tomorrow in Support of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga

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A protest is scheduled for tomorrow in NYC at the Malawian Consulate, 866 United Nations Plaza, from 2-3:30 pm in support of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, the couple who were recently sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labor for holding an engagement ceremony in late December.

Facebook group is here.


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Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga Separated

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Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, the Malawian couple convicted of "gross indency" and "unnatural acts" for holding an engagement ceremony and sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labor, have been dealt more grief:

"Evance Phiri told The Associated Press Wednesday that Tiwonge Chimbalanga is being held at a Blantyre prison, while his partner Steven Monjeza is at a prison some 50 miles (90 kilometers) away. Phiri says they were separated for their own safety, but did not elaborate. They were convicted last week and sentenced to the maximum 14 years at hard labor. Maxwell Manda told the AP his cousin, Chimbalanga is distraught because of the separation. Manda says Chimbalanga is being kept away from hardened criminals. He adds his cousin wants to leave Malawi once he is released."


Watch: Malawians Speak Out in Defense of of Gay Couple

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It's extremely heartening to see that Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, the gay couple imprisoned in Malawi and recently sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labor, have defenders willing to openly speak out against the injustice and travesty of the conviction of these two young, innocent people.

The video also give us a look at the couple in court and the rowdy crowd outside it.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

The sentence has been condemned by the UN: "Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, said Monday that he would travel to Malawi this weekend where among other issues he will take up with President Bingu wa Mutharika is the 14-year jail sentence handed down to two homosexual men who held an engagement ceremony. Mr. Ban said the sentence violated human rights principles that ban both discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as the criminalization of sexual acts between consenting adults."

(via lgbt asylum news)

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Continue reading "Watch: Malawians Speak Out in Defense of of Gay Couple" »


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