Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga

A judge has refused to grant bail to the two Malawian men arrested for getting married in the country’s first gay wedding, citing concerns about their safety.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) and Steven Monjeza (26) were first charged with public indecency but prosecutors have also included “unnatural practices between males” and a charge of “consent to have sexual acts like wife and husband”.

On Monday, Judge Usiwa-Usiwa ruled against their application for bail.

“The accused have the right to bail but considering the public interest their case has generated it is the view of the court that they are safer in police custody than out there,” he said.

This despite claims by the men that they have already been beaten in jail.

The judge did agree to reconsider their application for bail on January 10 if authorities had not yet completed their investigation.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi and the couple faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted.

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