Outrage as gay pair get 14 years' hard labour
Published 21/05/2010 | 05:00
Two homosexual men have been sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labour in Malawi for gross indecency and unnatural acts.
In a ruling that provoked international condemnation, Judge Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa told the men, who were arrested after a public engagement ceremony, that he wanted to protect the public from "people like you".
Steven Monjeza (26) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20), who have been in jail since December, were then driven away from the packed courthouse in the old colonial capital of Blantyre, jeered by a large crowd.
The British Government, Malawi's largest donor, expressed "dismay" at the sentences, but has not withdrawn aid estimated at about £80m (€92m) a year. The US State Department said the verdict was "a step backwards in the protection of human rights in Malawi".
The judge told the pair: "I will give you a scaring sentence so that the public will be protected from people like you, so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example".
The case has ignited debate over homosexuality in Malawi, one of Africa's poorest and most conservative countries.(© The Times, London)