Gay couple face 14 years in jail after civil marriage
TWO gay men may be sentenced to up to 14 years in jail with hard labour today for holding a traditional civil marriage ceremony in Malawi, one of Africa's most conservative states.
Steve Monjeza (26) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) are virtually certain to receive custodial sentences at a magistrates' court in Blantyre, the capital, despite pressure from supporters who will be protesting outside the London offices of the Commonwealth.
They became the first homosexual couple to go public in a country where the gay movement is gaining in confidence, thanks to international backing, much to the dismay of conservatives who see the development as a Western ploy to undermine morals.
The men have little local support in a region of fundamentalist Christian beliefs. (© The Times, London)