Philip Mubiana chained to James Mwape
(not in picture) at the Kapiri Mposhi
Magistrates’ Court (Pic: 76crimes.com)
The ordeal of the two young Zambian men arrested in May on charges of homosexuality continues as they remain jailed while awaiting the start of their trial.
Barber Philip Mubiana (21) and bricklayer James Mwape (20) have been accused of living as ‘husband and wife’ and have been charged with four counts of having “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”.
Local media reported that they were forced to undergo medical tests at Kapiri Mposhi District Hospital to “prove” that they had engaged in anal sex. They have also been refused bail.
Defence lawyers for the men had asked the Kapiri Mposhi Magistrates’ Court for their case to be tried on the basis of constitutional issues.
According to the Lusaka Times, however, they have since dropped this strategy and instead asked the court to proceed with the case as soon as possible.
The suspects appeared in court on Wednesday and their trial has been set to begin on Monday next week. The Times said that the state intends to call six witnesses in the matter.
Mubiana and Mwape face up to 14 years in jail if found guilty.
The men’s arrest follows a recent anti -gay campaign by the Zambian government, which also arrested HIV activist Paul Kasonkomona for speaking on national TV in favour of gay rights in April.
Zambian Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu has dismissed calls to decriminalise homosexuality out of hand and told supporters of gay rights to “go to hell”.
Lungu has also justified his government’s anti-gay policies by referring to the recent massive public protests against the legalisation of same-sex marriage in France.
“If the French who are known to be highly civilised can rebel against same-sex marriages, who are we to accept this alien concept even in the face of us being a Christian nation?” he was quoted as saying by the Zambia Daily Mail.