After eight months in prison without bail on homosexuality charges, two young Zambian men last week saw the prosecution wrap up its case against them.
Philip Mubiana and James Mwape were arrested in early May 2013, when family members in rural Kapiri Mposhi reported them to police.
If convicted, they would face prison sentences of 15 years to life. If acquitted, which could occur no earlier than Feb. 25, they would have spent nine months in prison without being convicted of a crime.
Their supporters gave this account of the proceedings on Jan. 24:
Two witnesses testified for the prosecution — medical doctor Andrea Bandula and the arresting officer.
Bandula acknowledged that his findings were not conclusive and he was not able to collect forensic evidence as he only saw the clients 72 hours after their arrest.
The prosecution then closed its case.
The magistrate asked the prosecution and the defense to submit briefs on whether the prosecution had presented a strong enough case that the charges should not be immediately dismissed or whether the defense should proceed to present its case. A ruling on that question is scheduled for Feb. 25.
In the meantime, Mubiana and Mwape will spend their ninth month behind bars, awaiting the end of their trial. Repeated requests for their release on bail have been delayed without action.
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)
- 8 months in Zambian prison on gay charges; no bail (Jan. 23, 2014)