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. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

4 Comments

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  1. These two men have been subjected to torture (as defined by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture), and thus the verdict of the lower court is internationally insubmissable, i.e. illegal!
    The Judge of the High Court of Zambia has confirmed an illegal and unlawful ruling by the lower court, and thus is himself guilty of the practice of torture!
    The High Court judge should have been dismissing the verdcit of the lower court, due to the application of torture to the two men! By not doing so the High Court judge not only becomes conspiratory guilty to the torture to which the two men were subjected, but also breached international law, as well as confirmed the fact that Zambia is applying torture to human beings!
    This makes him a criminal, as does it the judge(s) of the lower court!
    One would have expected, and can expect from a High Court judge to be aware of the criminality of the appliance of torture to suspects of a crime, wereby also must be noted that simply being homosexual is not a crime, nationally it may be, but international law preceeds national law!
    I think that in order to force the Zambian government to alter the referred to law, by de-criminalising the law on homosexuality, the civilised world must undertake steps to f.i. end aid to Zambia, and that the Commonwealth assembly must come to an agreement wereby homosexuality in the member states will be decriminalised!
    It is unacceptable that in the 21st century homosexuality is illegal, unlawful and punishable, only unviclised and backward countries regard homosexuality as illegal and unlawfull!
    My opinion!

  2. Sadly it is true that self styled christians are responsible for the epidemic of homophobia affecting so many african countries, the civilised world should take much stronger measures such as sanctions and boycotts to try to bring it home to these misguided countries that their conduct is evil. The Anglican Church should sever all ties with their african “brothers”.

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