Anti-gay court action in Malaysia, Nigeria, Zambia

Three countries, three courts, three anti-gay moves:

Malaysia: Opposition leader guilty of sodomy

Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia (Photo via
Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia (Photo via

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian court on [March 7] sentenced opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in jail on sodomy charges, overturning an earlier acquittal and ending his hopes of contesting a local election this month.

An angry Anwar vowed to appeal to the country’s highest court. He warned Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government that it “faces the wrath of the people.”

The court said Anwar could remain free on bail during the appeal.

Anwar, 66, is the most potent threat to Najib, whose popular support has weakened over the last two elections.

Sodomy, even consensual, is a crime in Muslim-majority Malaysia and is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

International human rights groups say the legal moves against Anwar are politically motivated. (Read more.)

Related article: Plea to Malaysia: Drop anti-gay law, political prosecution


Nigeria court orders men whipped for gay sex

Location of Bauchi state in Nigeria (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)
Location of Bauchi state in Nigeria (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)

(Al Jazeera) Four young men have been convicted of gay sex and whipped publicly as punishment in an Islamic court [in Bauchi] in northern Nigeria, according to a human rights activist.

The four were sentenced and punished on Thursday to 15 strokes. They also face a year’s imprisonment if they cannot pay a fine of $120.

The men, aged between 20 and 22, should not have been convicted because their confessions were forced through beatings, said Dorothy Aken’Ova, the convenor of the Coalition for the Defence of Sexual Rights Network.

She said they had to prostrate themselves on the floor of the court to be whipped on their bottoms.

The four men were among dozens arrested in a wave of arrests after Nigeria strengthened its anti-gay laws in January. (Read more.)

Related article: Puny response to 68 arrests in Nigeria’s anti-gay war


US urges Zambia to drop the appeal against the acquittal of … Kasonkomona

Paul Kasonkomona (Photo courtesy of Muvi TV)
AIDS activist Paul Kasonkomona. (Photo courtesy of Muvi TV)

(Lusaka Times) The Government of the United States has said that is disappointed by the decision of the Government of the Republic of Zambia to appeal the case of Paul Kasonkomona for allegedly “soliciting for immoral purpose.”

In a statement released to the media [March 6], the US Government urged the Government to drop its appeal case as the Zambian constitution guaranteed the freedom of expression.

Last month Magistrate Lameck Ng’ambi acquitted a human rights activist on charges of promoting homosexuality. Paul Kasonkomona was charged with “soliciting for immoral purposes” after arguing for gay rights on a MUVI TV in April 2013. (Read more.)

Related article: Zambia: Acquittal for opponent of anti-gay laws

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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