Philip Mubiana chained to James Mwape
(not in picture) at the Kapiri Mposhi
Magistrates’ Court (Pic: 76crimes.com)
It’s come to light that the sister of one of the men facing imprisonment on charges of homosexuality in Zambia reported him to the police.
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”.
According to the Times of Zambia, Henry Shazala, the police officer who received the complaint against the men, told the Kapiri Mposhi Magistrates’ Court on Monday that the report had come from Mubiana’s sister.
He said that Sharon Mubiana told him that she had heard reports that her younger brother, Philip was living with another man as a “wife”.
She said that her brother was “acting as a woman” in a sexual relationship with Mwape and that this had led to her and their mother developing hypertension, which she suggested, resulted in the death of their mother.
Shazala confirmed that the men were apprehended by Mubiana’s sister and a group of other people.
The officer further claimed that when he interviewed the couple, Mubiana had confirmed that they were married and that they had been in a relationship for some time.
On Tuesday, witness Judith Wakumelo told the court what she had heard when the men were arrested.
“I heard Phillip tell the police that he was both male and female and that he wasn’t a woman. James at first refused to respond but later said that he was Phillip’s husband,” Wakumelo said.
Meanwhile, Magistrate John Mbuzi ordered that the case be moved from open court to in camera due to vulgar language and the “sordid” nature of the testimony.
The men were first arrested in early May and released on bail. They were rearrested a day later, apparently after they continued to live together. They have since been refused bail.
Mubiana and Mwape were also forced to undergo medical tests at Kapiri Mposhi District Hospital to “prove” that they had engaged in anal sex.
“It’s bad enough that Zambia wants to prosecute these two men for homosexual acts, but to subject them to invasive examinations is just outrageous,” said Monica Tabengwa, researcher in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should immediately drop the charges and free them, and stop bringing such cases.”
According to Human Rights Watch, the men could receive jail sentences ranging from five years to life.
They case is set to resume on 18 and 19 July.