Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga
Steven Monjeza, one of the men in jail on charges of homosexuality in Malalwi, has still not received medical treatment despite his health continuing to deteriorate.
This according to London-based human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, whose sources claim that Monjeza (26) is thin and weak, with barely enough energy to smile.
“He is vomiting, coughing and suffering from pain and pressure in his chest. His eyes are jaundiced. People who saw him at the weekend are very worried about his condition,” said Tatchell.
Although he has not been convicted of any offence, Monjeza has been held on remand in what has been decribed as “an overcrowded, fetid cell” for nearly four months, reportedly without proper food, sanitation or medical care.
“At first sight, some of Steven’s symptoms seem like flu. But the prison authorities have discounted this possibility. They suspected that he had TB. Steven was sent for tests. But the TB tests have come back negative. The prison authorities would not have sent him to be tested for TB if his symptoms corresponded to flu.
“Prison officials are unable to determine Steven’s illness. Although they are unsure, they are not doing further medical tests,” said Tatchell, who has called for Monjeza to be urgently transferred to a hospital.
According to Tatchell, Chichiri prison – where Monjeza is being held – was built for 800 prisoners, but currently holds nearly 1,900 inmates.
Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) are facing 14 years in prison on charges of homosexuality after they celebrated their relationship in a public ceremony last December. They have been twice refused bail, apparently out of concerns for their safety.