Madonna celebrates release of gay Malawi couple
Madonna has thanked her fans for supporting her call for Malawi to release a couple jailed for homosexuality offences.
Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were pardoned by Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika last week after being sentenced to 14 years of hard labour.
The singer, who is a benefactor to Malawi and has adopted children from the country, made a call for the pair to be released.
She wrote on her blog at the weekend: “I have always believed love conquers all – yesterday I got to see it in action.
“In the last week over 30,000 of you added your name to mine calling for the release of Steven Monjeza, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga – the Malawi couple sentenced to 14 years hard labour for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality.
“We celebrate this astounding turn of events with Steven, Tiwonge, and the countless Malawians fighting for their release. It is a historic day for Malawi.”
Madonna indicated she would continue to support the couple.
She said: “Though they are free from prison, sadly their safety and future in Malawi is still unknown. I hope this is just the beginning of our work together.”
The couple were released on Saturday but fears remain for their safety. Mr Mutharika told them they were being released on “humanitarian” grounds but could be arrested if they reoffended again.
They are said to be keeping a low profile in order to avoid mob attacks.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has been supporting them, said they could seek asylum.
“We are now liaising with Steven and Tiwonge about whether they want to seek asylum abroad and will assist them, whatever they decide,” he said.