James Mwape and Philip Mubiana were forced to undergo invasive medical tests (Pic: Erasing 76 Crimes)
A Zambian court has allowed anal medical tests forced on two men accused of homosexuality to remain in evidence in their trial.
James Mwape and Philip Mubiana, both in their early twenties, are charged with having ‘carnal knowledge against the order of nature’.
They have been in detention since May 2013 while their trial has been repeatedly delayed.
Shortly after their arrest, a medical licentiate officer, Melody Luhanga, forcibly “examined the duo’s private parts” to determine whether they had engaged in anal sex.
In November, the men’s defence lawyer, Sunday Nkonde, disputed Luhanga’s qualifications and expertise in the matter and requested that his evidence not be accepted by the Kapiri Mposhi Court.
Last week, however, Magistrate John Mbuzi rejected the application and ruled that Luhanga is indeed qualified to give evidence in the case and will be allowed to continue to do so.
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.
The tests have also been rejected by medical experts as scientifically inconclusive.
The Times of Zambia reported that despite concerns by the defence team about another delay in the trial, the magistrate adjourned the case until December 27.
According to Human Rights Watch, Mubiana and Mwape – who have already been in jail for almost eight months – face jail sentences ranging from five years to life, if convicted.