- September 12, 2013
Post submitted by Jane Thirikwa, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
Amnesty International has called for the dropping of charges against two men accused of “same-sex conduct” and for their unconditional release from prison, ahead of an upcoming court hearing on Thursday.
James Mwape and Philip Mubiana, both 22 years old, will appear in court on today in the Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi for a remand hearing. They have been in custody since May 6, facing two counts each of committing offences “against the order of nature.”
The pair were initially arrested on April 25 and detained until May 2, when they were granted bail. After their release, Mwape and Mubiana were arrested for a second time just four days later following another report to the police by a neighbor.
According to Amnesty International, reports indicate that on two occasions in May, government doctors forcibly conducted anal exams on both Mwape and Mubiana. The government-owned Zambia News and Information Services quoted Central Province Commissioner of Police Standwell Lungu, who confirmed that medical exams had been conducted.
Same-sex sexual activity is proscribed by Cap. 87, Sections 155 through 157 of Zambia's penal code. Thirty-six countries in Africa, of which thirty-one are in sub-Saharan Africa, currently criminalize same-sex conduct.