Zambia arrests activist after gay rights appeal on TV

Police officers in Zambia arrested human rights activist Paul Kasonkomona today immediately after he appeared live on MUVI television urging recognition of gay rights, the TV station reported.

Police said they were following orders from top officials in the police force.

On April 4, police spokesperson Elizabeth Kanjela urged members of the public to report anyone “involved in” homosexuality to the nearest police station.

That statement came in response to an attempt by four male couples to register as married over the Easter weekend.

Under Zambian law, sexual relations between men are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

“The offence of homosexuality attracts a sentence of not less than five years imprisonment, and therefore anyone who will be found wanting will face the wrath of the law,” Kanjela said.

In his TV appearance, Kasonkomona said that gay rights are like any other form of human rights, and should be respected.

The headline for the MUVI TV story was “Police Officers Storm Muvi Television Studios Arresting Gay Right Activist,” but a video accompanying the story only showed men getting into a car and driving away.

Kasonkomona is a human rights and AIDS activist working in Zambia with the Civil Society Health Forum and the Engender Rights Centre for Justice.

(This story will be updated as it develops.)

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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  1. Well, with 70% of the population in poverty I understand why they want to keep their system untouched of any improvement. Of any kind.

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