Malawi gay couple found guilty of unnatural acts and gross indecency
The gay Malawian couple arrested in December have been found guilty of unnatural acts and gross indecency.
Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa issued the verdict today, Associated Press reports.
Stephen Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were arrested after holding a traditional wedding ceremony.
They have been in custody since their arrest on December 27th and denied the charges against them.
Under Malawi’s laws, they could face up to 14 years in jail.
The pair are expected to be sentenced on Thursday.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has been championing their case, argued that the prosecution had not proved they broke the law.
He told PinkNews.co.uk: “This is an appalling verdict. There is no evidence to justify it.
“Steven and Tiwonge freely confirmed their love for each other but the prosecution presented no credible evidence that they had committed any sexual acts.
“The law under which they were convicted is a law that only applies to same-sex relationships.
“It violates article 20 of the Malawi constitution, which guarantees equality and non-discrimination.”
Lawyers for Mr Monjeza and Mr Chimbalanga attempted to have the case thrown out by arguing the trial violated constitutional laws but were unsuccessful.