Rights group Amnesty International has blasted the protracted detention of two Zambian men accused of engaging in homosexual sex, telling the Lusaka authorities on Saturday that the delay in concluding the case was a violation of the suspects’ rights. AI’s Zambia researcher Simeon Mawanza criticised Friday’s postponed judgment in the case in which James Mwape and Philip Mubiana are accused of having sex “against the order of nature”.
The Magistrate Court in Kapiri Mposhi was due to deliver its verdict on Friday but the case was postponed to an unknown date due to delays by the state prosecutor.
“The wheels of justice have been turning very slowly for these two men. Their incarceration in the first place, and inexcusable delays in proceedings, reflect very badly on the justice system in Zambia. Amnesty International regards both men to be prisoners of conscience and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release,” Mawanza said.
Homosexuality is illegal under Zambia’s penal code and, if convicted, the two men face at least 14 years in prison.
The two men were first arrested in April last year and detained until 2 May, when they were released on bail.
They were arrested again on 6 May and subjected to forcible anal examinations by government doctors to “prove” their involvement in sexual activity.