LAWYER DISPUTES GAY SEX TESTS

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

James Mwape and Philip Mubiana were forced to undergo invasive medical tests (Pic: Erasing 76 Crimes)

The lawyer representing two men on trial for homosexuality in Zambia has challenged anal tests that were forced on his clients.

According to earlier reports, barber Philip Mubiana (21) and bricklayer James Mwape (21) were made to undergo medical tests at Kapiri Mposhi District Hospital when they were arrested in April to “prove” that they had engaged in anal sex.

The Lusaka Times has now confirmed that a medical licentiate officer, Melody Luhanga, had indeed “examined the duo’s private parts” and had testified to this in late October.

On Monday, however, defence lawyer Sunday Nkonde, disputed Luhanga’s qualifications and expertise in the matter and requested that his evidence not be accepted by the court.

“Therefore, in this case, it is appropriate for the court as the gatekeeper to inquire and be satisfied that this witness has expertise in the field of sexual assault examination or has forensic qualifications to conduct the subject examinations on both accused persons…” Nkonde said.

He went on to add “that only a legally qualified medical practitioner with experience and training in such cases should be allowed to conduct such a medical examination”.

Forced anal sex exams have been classified as a form of torture by human rights groups and as a gross invasion of an individual’s privacy. They have also been rejected by medical experts as scientifically inconclusive.

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

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