Verdict delayed in Zambian anti-gay trial

James Mwape and Philip Mubiana arrive for trial.
James Mwape and Philip Mubiana arrive for trial.

A verdict has been delayed in the trial of  two young Zambian men who have been imprisoned for more than a year on homosexuality charges.
The trial had been scheduled to end May 30, but it was delayed, reportedly until June 23.
Defendants Philip Mubiana and James Mwape of rural Kapiri Mposhi have been in custody since May 6, 2013.  They were arrested after family members reported them to police in response to a nationwide appeal to Zambian citizens to inform on alleged homosexuals. The men’s repeated applications for bail have been rejected.
Human rights organizations have been providing legal services and food to Mubiana and Mwape.
“How many more lives will be ruined before Zambians realize that criminalization of  individuals  based on their real or perceived  sexual orientation is a violation of their fundamental human rights?” Juliet Mphande, executive director of Friends of Rainka, said earlier. “It’s time for all right-thinking Zambians to help curb this oppression of minorities.”
In the six months after the men’s arrest, Friends of Rainka tallied 43 LGBT-related violations of people’s rights.  At least two other suspected same-sex couples have been arrested; at least one couple is also on trial.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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