Ten months without bail: James Mwape and Philip Mubiana (Pic: Erasing 76 Crimes)
Two young Zambian men have now been in prison for 10 months without trial on charges of homosexuality.
Barber Philip Mubiana and bricklayer James Mwape, both in their early twenties, are charged with having ‘carnal knowledge against the order of nature.’
They have been in detention since May 2013 in rural Kapiri Mposhi while their trial has been repeatedly delayed and their attempts to secure bail have been denied.
The men face between 15 years to life in prison if found guilty.
Erasing 76 Crimes reported that, on Tuesday, Magistrate John Mbuzi rejected efforts to dismiss the case, ruling that the prosecution’s case was strong enough to stand.
In addition to being denied the right to bail and a speedy trial and being forced to live under appalling conditions, Mwape and Mubiana were also subjected to medical tests against their will after their arrest to determine whether they had engaged in anal sex.
The magistrate earlier ruled that the tests – rejected internationally as medically inconclusive and a form of torture – were admissible in court.
The trial is set to resume on 13 March. In the meantime, the two men remain jailed and their ordeal continues with no end in sight.