Malawi gay couple jailed for “unnatural acts”

According to this CNN report, the Malawian same-sex couple who wed have been found guilty of indecency and unnatural acts.

The pair was arrested in December at their home in Blantyre, Malawi, for professing their love in a traditional engagement ceremony. They were rounded up after news reports surfaced, charged under colonial-era sodomy laws and detained at Chichiru Prison without bail.

The arrests received some popular support in the conservative southern African nation, but sparked condemnation by gay rights activists. Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for the release of the couple.

Critics on the scene and condemned the sentence.

“There was no victim in this case, yet they were given a very harsh sentence by the judge,” said Gift Trapence, executive director of a Malawi human rights group.

This tragic situation is much like what is possible in Uganda. And sadly, you have the church associated with this limitation of personal freedom of conscience.

“Most people are repugnant towards homosexuality,” said Canaan Phiri, secretary general of the Malawi Council of Churches. “People do not declare their homosexuality because people are against this.”

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