Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga
The Malawian gay couple jailed following their engagement ceremony has again been refused bail, this time by a High Court judge.
Earlier in January, Magistrate’s Court Judge Usiwa-Usiwa refused to grant Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) and Steven Monjeza (26) bail, citing concerns about their safety.
On Thursday another judge, this time from the High Court, also refused their application on the same grounds – despite claims by the men that they have been beaten in prison.
“In the current circumstances, the state is validly concerned about and interested in the applicants’ safety and justified to be wary of releasing them into the community, at least for the time being,” said judge Rowland Mbvundula.
Chimbalanga and Monjeza have been in custody since the end of December 2009. They have been charged with ‘unnatural practices between males and gross public indecency’ and face 14 years in prison if found guilty.
Their trial is expected to continue in the lower Blantyre Magistrates Court on the 5th of February.