A 27-year-old trans woman on trial on sodomy charges testified Oct. 14 that she is innocent and that the man who complained about her to police had forced her to have sex with him.
Hatch Bril, a hairdresser in Mongu, western Zambia, could face from 15 years to life in prison, if convicted. Bril was arrested after being reported to police by taxi driver Abraham Chilemu, age 19, who said he had been deceived into sex.
After her testimony, the trial ended. Magistrate Derrick Mate Chingumbe announced that a decision on conviction or acquittal of Bril will be made Oct. 28.
During the trial, according to an account provided by a source who attended the Oct. 14 session, Bril testified that Chilemu and a male passenger, named George, picked her up and took her to a night club, where George gave her money to buy drinks and told her to keep the change.
She then testified that they went to George’s house, where she and the taxi driver, Chilemu, remained in the car. George invited her into the house but she refused after Chilemu warned her that it would not be safe to go inside because so many men were there.
She told George that it was late and she had to go home. She left with Chilemu in his taxi but, on the way, he stopped and told her that he wanted to have sex with her. She refused and, when he insisted, she told him that she was a man who liked wearing women’s clothing.
Despite that, Chilemu forced himself on her, she testified. Afterwards, he told her that he was taking her to see his family at his aunt’s home, because she had deceived him. There, she told the family her side of the story, but they wouldn’t listen.
Bril asked to have her own family present, but Chilemu’s family refused. Instead, they undressed her and beat her up, she testified.
They then took her to the police, where she was again undressed and then detained.
Chilemu told police that he had the sexual encounter with Bril at Chilemu’s home after he saw her dressed in female attire and “instantly fell in love.”
In Zambia, anyone who “has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” or “permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature” is liable to imprisonment for 15 years to life. Attempted sodomy is punishable by seven to 14 years in prison.
According to the Lusaka Times, Chilemu alleged that Bril enticed him “to have unnatural sex with him.” Chilemu apparently was a willing participant in the encounter, but does not face criminal charges.
This article was revised Nov. 2, 2015, to correct the minimum prison sentence that could be imposed on Bril after conviction. It is 15 years, not seven years.
- Zambian man ‘deceived,’ so partner faces sodomy trial (76crimes.com)
Previous coverage of LGBTI-related cases in Zambia
- Zambian judge acquits 2 men in homosexuality case (April 14, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Zambia seeks to overturn acquittal of anti-AIDS activist (Feb. 8, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Zambia frees 2 allegedly gay men after year in prison (July 3, 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Zambia: Acquittal for opponent of anti-gay laws (Feb. 25, 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Zambian charge: Defendant’s anti-AIDS advocacy was immoral (Oct. 30, 2013, 76crimes.com)
- Politically motivated trial of Zambian AIDS fighter (Oct. 28, 2013, 76crimes.com)
- Zambian activist must stand trial for opposing anti-gay law (76crimes.com)
- 43 anti-LGBT violations in Zambia; ‘accident waiting to happen’ (76crimes.com)
- Zambia VP after gay-rights arrest: ‘Live and let live’ (76crimes.com)
- Zambia arrests activist after gay rights appeal on TV (April 7, 2013, 76crimes.com)