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Zambia: Two face 15-year jail term for gay sex accusations.

Author: Paul Shalala & Ray Mwareya Date Published: 07 May 2018
  • Zambia: Two face 15-year jail term for gay sex accusations.

    A magistrate's court in the southern Africa country of Zambia has imprisoned two men over accusations of being gay and practicing homosexuality.

    James Mwape and Phillip Mubiana are accused of practicing homosexuality in the central town of Kapiri Moshi.

    The small court room where the case was held this morning was fully packed with relatives and friends of the two men.

    The two Mr. Steven Sambo (30) and Mr. Japhet Chataba (38) are languishing in jail ahead of June 27 when the judge will deliver a verdict.

    Passing ruling this morning, Mr. Ackson Mumba, the town´s magistrate, said he found a prema facie case against the two in the matter which has dragged for eight months.

    The two men were picked up by police in August last year at a town lodge and accused of performing “unnatural sex acts” according to papers filed by prosecutors.

    In his ruling, the magistrate relied on evidence from witnesses who claimed the two men reserved a hotel room and later bought condoms at the bar before having sex.

    During trial, a hotel supervisor claimed she saw through the window of the booked room how the two were having sex and Mr. Sambo got tired and ran out of the room but was dragged back into the room by Mr. Chataba.

    Prosecutors produced a video and pictures which they said claimed showed Mr. Chataba, who was wearing a pant, dragging Mr. Sambo back into the room.

    In the video, Mr. Sambo was seen wearing a jean as he shouted for help from onlookers but was overpowered by Mr. Chataba who closed the door, locking themselves inside.

    However, the judge said even though the videos and pictures showed what transpired, they did not contain dates and times when the alleged acts where committed.

    A local medical doctor who examined the two accused persons found that the results from the tests were not consistent with the allegations laid against them.

    After the ruling, the accused persons through their attorney Mr. Daniel Libati informed the court that they will remain silent for the rest of the case.

    Magistrate Mumba then set 21 June 2018 as the day he will deliver judgement in the matter.

    This is the second court case involving alleged sexual acts between men in the town in the past five years.

    In May 2013, Mr. Phillip Mubiana and Mr. James Mwape where arrested in Kapiri Mposhi town on alleged homosexuality.

    The two men where remanded in custody without bail for over eight months but where later acquitted in 2014.

    The case had earlier raised international interests, leading to a number of western diplomats attending the court cases.

    Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia, a country whose constitution describes it as a "Christian nation."

    In this deeply conservative Southern African country, homosexuality carries a jail term of 15 years. 

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