Two Zambian men convicted for engaging in gay sex

Two Zambian men could face 14 years in prison after having been convicted of engaging in homosexual activity.

The case was reportedly referred to the High Court in Kapiri Mopshi for sentencing. The two defendants, Japhet Chabata (38) and Stephen Shambo (30) pleaded not guilty in the case, which has been ongoing since October last year.

The men did not present any witnesses, while the prosecution had five witnesses, including the police officer who arrested them. The four other witnesses claimed they saw the two defendants having sex on August 25, at a lodge in Kapiri Mposhi.

The magistrate, Ackson Mumba, concluded that the prosecution had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defendants were forced to undergo an anal examination, which was conducted 10 days after they allegedly engaged in gay sex. According to media reports, the doctor concluded that the results of the exam “were inconsistent with the allegations, [but the doctor added that the exam] does not exclude the possibility of sodomy.”

This was despite a constitutional petition that was heard at the Mombasa High Court in 2016, challenging forced anal examinations on people suspected to be involved in same-sex activities.

Earlier this year, Zambian police launched a witch-hunt against two women who were said to be involved in lesbian relationship..

The legal team defending the the defendants would not comment on the outcome of the case to the media. Chataba and Sambo were returned to holding cells while they await for their sentencing.

In 2014, a Zambian magistrate acquitted two men charged with having sexual relations “against the order of nature,” saying the state failed to prove its case.

The Zambian penal code prohibits same-sex sexual activity and individuals who have been convicted of engaging in gay sex can face imprisonment of up to 14 years.

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