New Age Online published a preview of court action scheduled for this week in Zambia. Excerpts:
Two high-profile cases involving a suspected gay couple and a [human rights] activist come back-to-back in Zambian courts this week raising concerns over growing homophobia.
Rights activist Paul Kasonkomona, 38, returns to court Tuesday after his arrest in April for demanding that homosexuality be decriminalised in a television programme.
Barely a month later 21-year-old barber Philip Mubiana and bricklayer James Mwape, 20, were arrested and charged with sodomy.
Zambia’s laws have outlawed same-sex relationships since colonialism under Britain, and a sodomy conviction carries a 14-year prison sentence.
Yet these are the first such cases in recent history in the southern African country amid an increasingly anti-gay climate.
“Those advocating gay rights should go to hell, that is not an issue we will tolerate,” Home Affairs minister Edgar Lungu told reporters last month.
“There will be no such discussion on gay rights. That issue is foreign to this country,” he said. …
Local media have taken up the issue and gay rights have also become a hot topic around ordinary Zambians, though the reasons for the recent crackdown are unclear.
For more information, read the full New Age Online article “Zambia sees growing intolerance of homosexuality.”
Also see this blog’s recent coverage of Zambia:
- Zambia: 2nd arrest in 2 days for gay couple (76crimes.com)
- Gay in Zambia: mob justice, jail until May 22 trial (76crimes.com)
- Appeal to Zambia: End repressive anti-gay frenzy (76crimes.com)
- Zambia report: Police arrest married gay couple (76crimes.com)
- Zambia: Trial delayed for activist Paul Kasonkomona (76crimes.com)
- Why such silence amid Zambians’ anti-gay storm? (76crimes.com)
- Jailed gay pair in Zambia abused; at risk of rape, disease (76crimes.com)
- Justice minister wants no justice for Zambian gays (76crimes.com)