The trial of a prominent gay rights activist in Zambia has been postponed, as his lawyers argued that the charges brought against him were too vague and that the case should be heard by the High Court.

Paul Kasonkomona was arrested earlier this month following a live television appearance in which he argued for same-sex relationships to be decriminalised in Zambia. He was charged with “soliciting for immoral purposes”.

Sentences of 14 years can be issued for those convicted of same-sex sexual activity. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mr Kasonkomona also alleged that police delayed access to his HIV medication and that their actions put his life at risk.

His lawyers are suing for unlawful detention as he was kept in police cells for more than 48 hours before being charged. He is also demanding damages for mental distress and injury.

Earlier this month, human rights group Friends of RAINKA warned of a “frightening increase” in homophobic persecution in Zambia.

They said it had been fuelled by the recent comments of Chief Madzimawe of the Ngoni, who said: “It is not a culture of Zambians, Africans and Ngonis to practise homosexuality and gay people should be caged.”

Last week Zambian police arrested and charged a gay couple after the family of one of the men reported the relationship to authorities.