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Malawi Hub



04/19/2007


News: Matthew Morrison, Malawi, HIV, Transgender Rights

 road The Church of Scotland takes a stand against the Malawi government that imprisoned a gay couple earlier this week: "It is not right to imprison people on the grounds of their sexuality, even in a place where attitudes to human sexuality are different from here, and those differences should not stop us saying so."

Matt  road Matthew Morrison belts out the National Anthem at a Mets game.

 road Stealing a wheelchair from someone suffering from cerebral palsy is bad enough but to steal one from an eight-year old is even worse.

 road Sandra Day O'Connor on the selection of state court judges: "A better system is one that strikes a balance between lifetime appointment and partisan election by providing for the open, public nomination and appointment of judges, followed in due course by a standardized judicial performance evaluation and, finally, a yes/no vote in which citizens either approve the judge or vote him out. This kind of merit selection system — now used in some form in two-thirds of states — protects the impartiality of the judiciary without sacrificing accountability."

 road Zac Efron, the sailor.

 road Another hint that we'll see Palin run for president in 2012.

 road Confirmation: Lady Gaga does not have a penis.

 road Wow. AT&T almost doubles their iPhone termination fees.

 road Don't expect Jake Gyllenhaal to choose between the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics.

 road Equality California would rather have Perez Hilton at their party on Harvey Milk Day rather than hear Dustin Lance Black deliver his speech about gay rights.

 road Frighteningly high HIV infections among gay men in Asia: "For example, HIV prevalence among gay and bisexual men in Bangkok was now 30.8 percent compared to 1.4 percent in the adult population in Thailand. In Yangon, the figure was 29.3 percent versus 0.7 percent in Myanmar; while in Mumbai, it was 17 percent versus 0.36 percent in all of India."

Ghts

 road Report: Removing a chemical "invisibility cloak" that makes HIV-infected cells look healthy might be the key to ridding people of the virus.

 road Eyjafjallajokull could finally be cooling down

 road A 13-year old boy is the youngest person to make it to the summit of Mt. Everest.

 road 100 people demonstrated in front of the Massachusetts State House calling in support of a bill that would protect the rights of transgendered people.

 road We might very soon see the very first openly gay councilman in Salt Lake City County.


News: Alexander Skarsgard, Malawi, Plane Crash, Rand Paul

Ale  road Check out a new promo of True Blood (as well as a shirtless Alexander Skarsgard) during the Lost finale on ABC this weekend. 

 road Madonna is encouraging everyone to add their names to her new statement about the sentencing of two men in Malawi for homosexuality.  

 road David Beckham entertains the troops.

 road 158 dead in Indian plane crash in which the jet overshot the runway.

 road Howard Bragman on the motivation of some celebrities to come out of the closet for profit: “That doesn’t make someone’s coming out less sincere. Celebrities profit all the time from getting married and selling their pictures to magazines and telling their love stories in song and in book. Yeah, we’d like a little piece of the pie, too.”

 road Potato, potahto: Kelly Bensimon of the Real Housewives of New York didn't have a breakdown, she had a breakthrough.

 road Transgender Republican candidate Donna E. Milo, who Andy wrote about earlier this week, believes that marriage should only be between "a man and a woman."

 road Rand Paul doesn't need Rachel Maddow to vilify him. He's doing a good enough job of it himself.

 road Ricky Martin hits the streets of the Big Apple. YSOFTBALL2-popup

 road NY Times profiles openly gay Oregon State softball coach Kirk Walker: “It’s probably not as sexy as if he were coaching a men’s team — that’s a different dynamic because people always freak out about the locker room,” Buzinski said. “But Kirk’s value is in putting a name to the concept that ‘Oh, we know there’s gay coaches and gay players.’ Here’s one you can identify with. By being himself, he is trail-blazing.”

 road 350 participate in Romania's gay pride parade under very tight security.

 road I guess this means that Michael Barrymore is an "ex-gay?"


Madonna, White House, Condemn Sentence of Gay Malawi Couple

Madonna

Reactions to the conviction of gay Malawi couple Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who were sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labor for "gross indecency" and "unnatural acts" for having an engagement ceremony in late December, came today from Madonna and the White House.

MalawiMadonna, who many have been calling on throughout this human rights travesty to make a statement, and who is building a school and has adopted two children from Malawi, said:

"I am shocked and saddened by the decision made today by the Malawian court, which sentenced two innocent men to prison.  As a matter of principle, I believe in equal rights for all people, no matter what their gender, race, color, religion, or sexual orientation.  Today, Malawi took a giant step backward. The world is filled with pain and suffering; therefore, we must support our basic human right to love and be loved.  I call upon the progressive men and women of Malawi—and around the world—to challenge this decision in the name of human dignity and equal rights for all."

And the White House released a statement through Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

"The United States strongly condemns the conviction and harsh sentencing of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Malawi. The criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity is unconscionable, and this case mars the human rights record of Malawi. We urge Malawi and all countries to stop using sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for arrest, detention, or execution."

(quotes via boy culture and the advocate)

ALSO: A petition has been launched calling for the couple's immediate release.


Malawi Gay Couple Sentenced to Maximum 14 Years in Prison, Hard Labor, for Holding Public Engagement Ceremony

Malawi

Outrageous.

Malawi's gay couple, humiliated publicly and jailed since December for holding a public engagement ceremony declaring their love to one another, have been given the maximum sentence of 14 years in prison with hard labor — to "protect" Malawian society.

Nation Bloomberg reports: "Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were sentenced by Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa today in a court in the commercial capital, Blantyre. 'I am giving you a scary sentence so that the public must be protected,' Usiwa said. 'Malawi society is not ready to see its sons marrying other sons, nor daughters marrying daughters.' Chimbalanga, popularly known in the country as Aunt Tiwo, was composed while being sentenced, while Monjeza broke down in tears before being escorted to an awaiting police vehicle."

Monjeza and Chimbalanga were convicted of "gross indecency" and "unnatural acts" earlier in the week (I repeat — for holding a ceremony declaring their love to one another)

The BBC adds: "Defence lawyer Mauya Msuku had argued for a lighter sentence, pointing out that the pair's actions had not victimised anyone. "Unlike in a rape case, there was no complainant or victim in this case," he said after the pair were convicted on Tuesday. "Here are two consenting adults doing their thing in private. Nobody will be threatened or offended if they are released into society." Michelle Kagari, deputy Africa director of Amnesty International, called the sentence "an outrage", reports the AP news agency. She described the pair as "prisoners of conscience" and said Amnesty would continue to campaign for them to be freed."

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Dept. said it was "deeply disappointed" in the conviction.

Three UK Ministers, Henry Bellingham, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Stephen O'Brien, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development, and Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equality at the Home Office, have called for a Human Rights review of Malawi following the sentencing, saying

“We are deeply dismayed by the conviction for buggery and indecent practices of Mr Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Mr Steven Monjeza. We are also very concerned by the allegations of their mistreatment in police custody. Malawi has made significant progress on human rights in recent years. The government has signed up to international human rights treaties and Malawi’s constitution protects the rights of all its citizens. Infringement of these rights is intolerable. The conviction and sentencing to the maximum 14 years’ imprisonment of Mr Chimbalanga and Mr Monjeza, runs counter to a positive trend. “Britain has a close and strong partnership with Malawi and it is in this spirit that we raise our concerns. The UK believes that human rights apply to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The UK urges the Government of Malawi to review its laws to ensure the defence of human rights for all, without discrimination on any grounds. The UK, along with our international partners, will continue to press the Government of Malawi on this issue."

Watch CNN's report from earlier this week on their conviction, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Malawi Gay Couple Sentenced to Maximum 14 Years in Prison, Hard Labor, for Holding Public Engagement Ceremony" »


State Dept 'Disappointed' Over Conviction of Malawi Gay Couple

Malawi  

Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley mentioned the conviction of Malawi gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza yesterday in the State Dept. press briefing.

Said Crowley: Cuffed_malawi  

"The United States is deeply disappointed in today’s conviction of same-sex couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in Malawi. We view the criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity as a step backward in the protection of human rights in Malawi. The Government of Malawi must respect the human rights of all of its citizens. The United States views the decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity as integral to the protection of human rights in Malawi and elsewhere in the world."

Malawian Minister of Information, Leckford Mwanza Thotho made a statement about yesterday's conviction of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga for "gross indecency" and "unnatural acts". Said Thotho: "What we are saying is that the ruling or the court proceeding as of today, reflects our tradition in Malawi. It just shows that the gay issue is against our culture in Malawi."

Some additional details on the conviction from the NYT:

"Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa, in delivering Tuesday’s judgment in a small courtroom in Blantyre, the country’s commercial capital, was similarly stern. He referred to the crime as 'buggery,' using language from when Malawi was a British colony and the current law was written. He found both men guilty of “carnal knowledge” that was 'against the order of nature.' He said the two had been 'living together as husband and wife,' which 'transgresses the Malawian recognized standards of propriety.' As the judgment was translated for them from English into Chichewa, the defendants barely flinched. Then they were hastened out of a back door, escaping a taunting crowd that already was celebrating their conviction."

Sentencing is scheduled for tomorrow.

Watch a CBS News report on the conviction, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "State Dept 'Disappointed' Over Conviction of Malawi Gay Couple" »


Gay Malawi Couple Found Guilty of 'Gross Indecency, Unnatural Acts', Face 14 Years in Prison, Hard Labor

Malawi

A judge has found Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, jailed in Malawi since late December after they had a public engagement ceremony, guilty of "gross indecency" and "unnatural acts". Since that time, the couple has been imprisoned except for brief, occasional visits to a courtroom during which they were ridiculed and mocked by homophobic mobs.

Their sentence is even more heartbreaking:

Couple_malawi "Blantyre chief resident magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa issued the ruling yesterday. The couple are facing up to 14 years in prison with hard labour after becoming the first gay couple in Malawi to publicly commit themselves to each other...Angry residents and relatives from Machinjiri township, on the outskirts of Blantyre, say they will not allow them to return home if they are set free. A retired economist, Thindwa, added: "We are giving them moral support by bringing them food, money and clothes to prison." The rule comes as a blow to gay rights movements across the continent, sparking fears that the ruling could be viewed as a test case and set an unwelcome precedent. Peter Tatchell, the veteran British gay rights campaigner, told the Guardian last week he received a defiant message from Chimbalanga that said: 'I love Steven so much. If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless.' Monjeza – who is described as thin and weak with jaundiced eyes – told him: 'We have come a long way and even if our relatives are not happy, I will never stop loving Tiwonge.'"

Sentencing is set for Thursday.


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