Zambian judge sentences men to 15 years for gay sex

A high court in Zambia has sentenced two men to 15 years in prison for gay sex.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


The 15-year sentence was Page 1 news in Zambia.
The 15-year sentence was Page 1 news in Zambia.

The men were convicted last year in a lower court. They appealed, but high court Judge Charles Zulu rejected their challenge and imposed the 15-year sentence.

Under Zambian law, the sentence for same-sex activity can range from 15 years to life.

The Star reported:

After their conviction in Zambia on Aug. 3 for gay sex, Japhet Chataba and Stephen Sambo are loaded into a pickup truck to be transported back to jail. (Photo courtesy of Lusaka Times)
After their conviction in Zambia in August 2018 for gay sex, Japhet Chataba and Stephen Sambo covered their faces as they were loaded into a pickup truck to be transported back to jail. (Photo courtesy of Lusaka Times)

The court heard that Japhet Chataba and Steven Samba [in 2017] booked themselves into a lodge in Kapiri Mposhi, in central Zambia, where they committed the act.

While they were in the room, one of the workers peeped through an open window and saw them having sex.

The female worker then alerted her colleagues whom she invited to the window to catch a glimpse of two men.

The two men were convicted last year by the Kapiri Mposhi Magistrates’ Court but they took the case to the high court.

But high court judge Charles Zulu refused to review the verdict of the lower court and handed down the 15-year sentence.

“The trial court cannot be faulted and there is no basis to review or substitute the conviction and I further find that there were no irregularities by the trial court,” Judge Zulu said, the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail newspaper quotes him as saying.

Judge Zulu said he was satisfied that the lower court had been within the confines of the law when it convicted the defendants for “having sex against the order of nature” – the legal phrase used to describe gay sex.

As this blog previously reported:

Before their trial, the defendants were forced to undergo an anal examination, which occurred 10 days after they alleged engaged in gay sex. Mandatory anal exams are notorious for being both abusive and worthless in determining a person’s sexual behavior. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture has said that forced anal examinations amount to torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

According to the Lusaka Times, the doctor who conducted the results of the exam “were inconsistent with the allegations, [but the doctor added that the exam] does not exclude the possibility of sodomy.”

In a similar case in Kapiri Mphoshi in 2014, two defendants were acquitted of homosexual activity after being held in prison for 14 months awaiting trial. In that case, family members testified that the two men were living together as a gay couple, but had no eye-witness accounts of them engaging in gay sex.

 

 

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 info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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