Zambian Men Repeatedly Arrested, Denied Bail for Alleged Gay Sex

After being arrested twice for allegedly having "carnal knowledge against the order of nature," authorities are refusing to release two Zambian men on bond.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

May 09 2013 6:20 PM ET

 Philip Mubiana (center) and James Mwape (second from left) are taken into a police holding cell at a magistrate's court before their trial on charge of sodomy on May 8 in Lusaka, Zambia. 

Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of two men who have been denied bail after being arrested for allegedly having sex "against the order of nature," reports AllAfrica.

"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," said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International's Zambia researcher. 

Homosexuality, sodomy, or any "carnal knowledge against the order of nature" is illegal in Zambia, as it is in several African nations. 

But James Mwape and Philip Mubiana, the two men charged, contest the allegations that they had sex with each other and refused to accept a plea bargain without the presence of their lawyers, according to AllAfrica. Both men were arrested Monday, then released on police bond, but were arrested again on Tuesday on charges that they'd had another sexual encounter. 

Onlookers mocked the men, shouting antigay slurs and demanding that they reveal their faces as they entered and exited the courtroom. 

Amnesty International reports that the men have low literacy levels and a poor understanding of their legal rights under Zambian law. Authorities allegedly performed anal examinations on both men without their consent and may have forced them to confess to speed up the trial. 

"Anal examinations conducted to 'prove' same-sex conduct are scientifically invalid, and furthermore, if they were conducted without the men's consent, contravene the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under international law," said Mawanza.

Amnesty reports that the arrests are the second recent case of Zambian authorities targeting LGBT people and their supporters. In April a human rights activist in Lusaka was arrested after he appeared on TV supporting LGBT rights. Amnesty reports that he was later released on bail.

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