Malawi Immediately Suspends Arrests of Gay Citizens

BY Neal Broverman

November 05 2012 1:59 PM ET

The small east African nation of Malawi made a giant leap toward equality Monday, as the minister of justice called for an immediate moratorium on arrests and prosecutions of gays under the existing penal code.

The nation's parliament is currently reviewing the constitutionality of antigay laws, which criminalize anyone who is LGBT. But in the interim, the minister said no one else will be arrested for being gay.

"If we continue arresting and prosecuting people based on the said laws and later such laws are found to be unconstitutional, it would be an embarrassment to government," Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara told Reuters.

The nation's president, Joyce Banda, recently expressed her intention to dismantle the colonial-era laws, though she later reneged a bit.

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