Malawi Hub




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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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...

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