A Belgian man pleaded not guilty to acting ‘against the order of nature’ (sodomy) in court in Zambia on Tuesday (30 October).
During the jury trial the man, a hotel manager living in the southern city of Livingstone, was accused of committing sodomy between March 2011 and January 2012 with a local man.
The accused’s lawyer applied for bail saying:
‘My client has been very cooperative from the time the matter was reported and he is able to raise sureties who are resident in Livingstone.’
The case was adjourned and the accused remains in custody.
Homosexual activity is illegal for men and women in Zambia via laws established when the country was a British colony from 1888 to 1923 (then part of Rhodesia).
Social attitudes, influenced by fundamentalist Christian Evangelical missionaries, support these laws with most of the population believing homosexuality is immoral.
A 2010 survey revealed that only 2% of Zambians think that homosexuality, which is punishable by imprisonment for 14 years, is morally acceptable.
An anti-discrimination clause in the country’s 1991 constitution could in theory protect people against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but it is unlikely to work in practice.