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Zambia gay couple tortured, jailed without food and water

Zambia gay couple tortured, jailed without food and water

Zambia police have arrested a gay couple forcing them to undergo anal probe test, denying them legal representation on the charges of having sex ‘against the order of nature’.

Phil Mubiyana and James Mwape have been detained in an overcrowded cell in rural Zambia for several days and were denied access to food and water for about 12 hours.

While pleading not guilty the authorities denied them legal representation and may have forced them to ‘confess to their crimes’ to speed up the trial.

The two appeared before a packed courtroom in Kapiri Mposhi, rural Zambia and were remanded in police custody until their trial starts on 22 May, according to the BBC.

Amnesty International (AI) said it had learned from sources in Zambia that a neighbor had reported the men, who had a poor level of literacy and had not yet met a lawyer.

In addition they have been forced to undergo anal probes against their consent.

During such procedures, a forensic medical doctor examines the anus of a suspect for ‘proof’ that he engaged in anal sex.

The doctor checks for traces of sperm, and takes a picture to ‘study’ the shape of the hole; the larger the width the more ‘likely’ the person is gay, according to this discredited theory, slammed by Human Rights Watch as torture and a human rights violation.

Simeon Mawanza, an AI Zambia researcher said in a press statement: ‘Anal examinations are scientifically invalid, and if conducted without the men’s consent, contravene the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under international law.

‘In addition, the doctors who conduct these examinations, by doing so forcibly, violate their ethical obligations towards people they examine.

‘Any persons subjected to such abuse should be afforded appropriate remedy and must be protected from further abuse.’

Mawanza further called for the immediate release of Mwape and Mubiana, saying it they are prisoners of conscience: ‘The arrest of the two men solely for their real or perceived sexual orientation amounts to discrimination and it is in violation of their rights to freedom of conscience, expression, and privacy.’

Same-sex acts are classified in Zambian law as a felony punishable by imprisonment for 14 years.

Last month, local human rights activist Paul Kasonkomona was arrested soon after appearing on a live television programme in the capital, Lusaka, calling for same-sex acts to be decriminalised.

Mawanza further criticized Zambia stating: ‘Laws criminalizing homosexuality and gender identity criminalize the legitimate exercise of these human rights, which are protected in treaties ratified by Zambia, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.’