Approaching 10 months in prison without bail on homosexuality charges, two young Zambian men learned today that their ordeal will continue.
Magistrate John Mbuzi ruled that the prosecution’s recently completed case against them was strong enough that the case should not be dismissed. Their trial is expected to resume on March 13, when the defense will begin to make its case.
Philip Mubiana and James Mwape have been in custody since May 6, 2013, following their arrest when family members in rural Kapiri Mposhi reported them to police. They are facing two counts each of committing offenses “against the order of nature.” If convicted, they would face prison sentences of 15 years to life.
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.
Their repeated requests for bail have been repeatedly delayed.
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)
- 9 months in Zambian prison on gay charges; no bail (Jan. 30, 2014)
- Zambia’s growing intolerance towards LGBTI persons (Jan. 31, 2014)