Malawi President pardons jailed gay couple

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bingu Wa Mutharika, the President of Malawi
Image: Eric Miller.

On Saturday, May 29, Bingu wa Mutharika, President of the African country of Malawi, granted pardons to a gay couple who had been sentenced to 14 years in jail for sodomy and indecency charges. Mutharika, who has in the past dismissed homosexuality as alien, stated that he was releasing the couple on humanitarian grounds.

On Thursday, the President of South Africa condemned the decision of the Malawi courts in a rare dissenting statement stating, "We have condemned the action taken to arrest people in terms of our constitution," in response to questions about the Malawi arrests.

In December, Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were arrested following a personal engagement ceremony. The men were charged with gross indecency and unnatural acts, based on laws imposed during the British colonial period in Malawi.


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