Two men charged with sodomy and detained in Zambia

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The Human Rights Watch has urged Zambia to drop criminal charges in a case, pleading for the release of two men charged with sodomy in Zambia.

20-year-old James Mwape and 21-year-old Philip Mubiana were subjected to non-consensual anal examinations, food and water deprivation and forced to make confessions to speed up their trials.

According to the Zambian police, a family member of the arrested men reported the relationship.

“It’s bad enough that Zambia wants to prosecute these two men for homosexual acts, but to subject them to invasive examinations is just outrageous,” said Human Rights Watch LGBT Rights Program Researcher Monica Tabengwa. “The authorities should immediately drop the charges and free them, and stop bringing such cases.”

Mwape and Mubiana pleaded not guilty but remain in detention.

“Laws criminalizing homosexuality and gender identity criminalize the legitimate exercise of these human rights, which are protected in treaties ratified by Zambia, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” said Tabenawa.

“The arrest of the two men solely for their real or perceived sexual orientation amounts to discrimination and it is in violation of their rights to freedom of conscience, expression, and privacy,” said Amnesty International’s Zambia Researcher Simeon Mawanza.

Both men were reported to have a lack of knowledge regarding Zambia’s laws.

“Medical professionals participate in a miscarriage of justice when they subject people arrested for homosexuality to anal examinations,” said Tabengwa. “These invasive procedures are painful and humiliating and can be a form of torture. They should be banned immediately and evidence obtained should be declared inadmissible.”

This is not the first report of unfair treatment in regards to LGBT rights and activism in Zambia.

Charged with “soliciting for immoral purposes,” LGBT advocate Paul Kasokomona was apprehended after a television appearance arguing for the decriminalization of same-sex relationships in Zambia last month.

“Amnesty International considers individuals imprisoned solely for their consensual sexual relationship in private as prisoners of conscience and calls for their immediate and unconditional release,” Mawanza concluded.

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