This Chicago Criminal attorney posted here about sex crimes that shouldn’t be labeled as such. She’s grateful that the human rights community and justice has prevailed in one such instance.
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday announced the pardon of a jailed gay couple who were sentenced to 14 years for holding the country’s first same-sex wedding.
The President made the decision after discussions with visiting UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Mutharika who is also chairman of African Union has since ordered the immediate release of the gay couple.
“I have decided that with effect from today, they are pardoned and they will be released,” President Mutharika told a battery of reporters after meeting UN boss.
Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were given 14-year jail terms after being convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts.
They were told by Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa they would also serve hard labour as a warning to other gay people in the country.
“These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws,” said the Malawi President.
“However, as the head of state I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for their immediate release with no conditions.”
He added: “I have done this on humanitarian grounds but this does not mean that I support this.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded the “courageous” decision announced today by the leader of Malawi to pardon a gay couple recently sentenced to 14 years in prison, voicing hope that the African nation will update its laws to reflect international standards.
We cannot “stay quiet when people are denied fundament rights – whatever their race or faith or age or gender or sexual orientation,” Mr. Ban said in an address to Malawi's Parliament.
“It is unfortunate that laws that criminalize people on the basis of their sexual orientation exist in some countries. They should be reformed,” he underlined.