Two Zambian men accused of being gay continue to languish in jail

James Mwape and Philip Mubiana continue to languish in jail (Pic: Erasing 76 Crimes)

Two Zambian men accused of being gay continue to languish in jail after almost five months as their trail is further delayed.

Barber Philip Mubiana (21) and bricklayer James Mwape (21) 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”.

They were arrested in late April, apparently after one of the men’s relatives laid a complaint with the police.

After being released they were re-arrested two days later when they were seen together in public.

According to Erasing 76 Crimes, the men’s trial in Kapiri Mposhi has been delayed as medical witnesses against them had “other engagements” and failed to appear in court as expected last week.

The blog said that observers in Zambia have reported that so far no witness have testified that the men were actually seen having sex.

Earlier reports said that Mubiana and Mwape were forced to undergo medical tests at Kapiri Mposhi District Hospital when they were arrested to “prove” that they had engaged in anal sex.

The medical witnesses are expected to testify with regard to this alleged evidence.

These kinds of forced anal sex exams have been classified as a form of torture by human rights groups and have been rejected by medical experts as inconclusive.

The trial will resume on 16 September. Mubiana and Mwape have been refused bail on the basis that they may continue to break the law.

According to Human Rights Watch, they face jail sentences ranging from five years to life, if convicted.

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