The Nyasa Times reports that Malawi is reviewing its ban on same-gender sex, apparently in response to “public opinion”.

Justice Minister Ephraim Chiume said at a news conference in Lilongwe that this was part of a review by the Malawi Law Commission of controversial laws, such as restrictions on media freedom.

“In view of the sentiments from the general public and in response to public opinion regarding certain laws, the government wishes to announce to the Malawi nation that it is submitting the relevant laws and provisions of laws to the Law Commission for review,” he said.

He confirmed that the review will also include the current ban on homosexual acts.

In February President Bingu Wa Mutharika signed a bill into law adding lesbianism to the already criminalised act of sex between men. Those found guilty face prison sentences of up to 14 years.

In 2010, a same-sex couple was arrested and imprisoned on charges of homosexuality in Malawi. The men were eventually pardoned after the country was put under massive international pressure.

Malawian government officials have in part blamed recent unrest and protest action in the country and lost foreign aid on international lobbying by LGBTI and human rights groups, labelling them “unpatriotic”.

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