Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga

The UK’s Times has reported that one of the men on trial for homosexuality in Malawi has collapsed in court.

The newspaper said that Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) vomited and fell to the floor as the trial was set to resume on Wednesday.

As he lay on the floor, people in the public gallery shouted out homophobic abuse. Chimbalanga received no help and when he eventually got to his feet he was allowed to fetch a mop and pail to clean up.

Chimbalanga has been in jail since the end of December with his partner Steven Monjeza (26) after the two men were arrested following a public engagement ceremony.

The men’s legal team told the court that Chimbalanga suffers from Malaria and needed to rest. The magistrate ordered that he be taken to hospital and adjourned the trial until 25 January.

The couple has been charged with ‘unnatural practices between males and gross public indecency’. Human rights organisations say that the men have been subjected to medical tests against their will in an attempt to assess if they engaged in sex. Chimbalanga has also claimed that they have been beaten by prison officials.

The men face 14 years in prison if they are found guilty. Their lawyers are waiting to hear if their application to have the case heard before the country’s Constitutional Court will be successful.

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