Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga
A bid by the engaged gay men on trail for homosexuality in Malawi to have their case heard by the country’s constitutional court has failed after Malawi’s chief justice rejected their request.
The men’s lawyers had hoped that the Constitutional Court would find that the laws under which the men have been charged are unconstitutional.
A verdict by the magistrate’s court that has been hearing the trial is now expected on the 22nd of March.
Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) and Steven Monjeza (26) 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.
The men have twice been refused bail by the lower Blantyre Magistrate’s Court, ostensibly for their own safety. This despite claims that they have been beaten and subjected to invasive medical tests while in prison.