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Malawi gay couple gets 14 years hard labor for violating ‘order of nature’

Friday, May 21, 2010
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A Malawi gay couple was sentenced Thursday to the maximum 14 years in prison with hard labour, after being convicted of sodomy for holding the country’s first same-sex wedding.

Monjeza (left) and Chimbalanga

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were arrested on December 28 after their symbolic wedding and accused of violating “the order of nature,” and were told by a judge they would also serve 14 years hard labor as a warning to other gay people in the country, the maximum sentence under the penal code.

“I will give you a scaring sentence so that the public be protected from people like you, so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example,” said magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa, the Associated Press reported.

In unusually graphic language, Usiwa Usiwa convicted Monjeza of “having carnal knowledge of Tiwonge through the anus, which is against the order of nature.”

Chimbalanga was found guilty of “permitting buggery”, which the judge said was similarly contrary to the natural order.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi and most other African countries.

The Malawian minister of information, Leckford Mwanza Thotho, said the government was pleased at the conviction.

Amnesty International called for their immediate release and said their rights have been “flagrantly violated.”

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