The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case tomorrow (Jan. 24) against two young Zambian men facing homosexuality charges.
Philip Mubiana and James Mwape have been imprisoned for eight months without bail since they were arrested in early May, when family members in rural Kapiri Mposhi reported them to police.
If convicted, the defendants would face prison sentences of 15 years to life.
Repeated requests for their release on bail have been delayed without action.
Their supporters say that the prosecution’s final medical witness is due to testify tomorrow, after which the prosecution is expected to close its case.
Mubiana and Mwape are victims not only of continuing legal delays but also of the country’s public campaign against homosexuals. They were arrested during the country’s anti-gay campaign that started in early April, when Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba urged the Zambian public to report homosexuals.
“It is blatantly clear that the decisions being made by the Zambian judicial system in this case are being influenced by external factors,” said LGBT rights activists who have been following the case.
In the trial, the defense has raised objections about testimony by a medical practitioner who described his anal examinations of the defendants.
Related articles from this blog:
- Zambia report: Police arrest married gay couple (May 6, 2013)
- Zambia: 2nd arrest in 2 days for gay couple (May 7, 2013)
- Amnesty Int’l demands freedom for Zambian gay couple (May 8, 2013)
- Jailed gay pair in Zambia abused; at risk of rape, disease (May 9, 2013)
- Gay in Zambia: 6th week in jail for 2 awaiting trial (June 5, 2013)
- Zambian pair’s sentence could be 14 years for gay sex (June 10, 2013)
- Zambia: Sister and police testify against gay pair (June 11, 2013)
- On the scene in Zambian courtroom in anti-gay case (June 11, 2013)
- Zambia: Setback for prosecution in gay trial (June 24, 2013)
- 4th month in jail for gay couple facing Zambia trial delays (July 18, 2013)
- 5 months in Zambian jail as gay trial falters; no eyewitnesses (Aug. 30, 2013)
- Amnesty to Zambia: Release 2 men facing gay sex charges (Sept. 11, 2013)
- Justice delayed, justice denied for 2 in Zambian gay trial (Sept. 17, 2013)
- No bail, no trial; 5+ months in Zambian prison on gay charges (Oct. 19, 2013)
- ‘Our lives are in danger’ – new threats to Zambian activists (Oct. 24, 2013)
- In Zambia, ‘trial by ambush’ in anti-gay case (Oct. 28, 2013)
- No bail; 6 months in Zambian prison on gay charges (Nov. 9, 2013)