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Malawi gay rights activist arrested

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A Malawi gay rights protester has been arrested for publicly supporting a recent same-sex marriage ceremony in the East African nation, which calls for prison terms of up to 14 years for consensual gay sex.

Peter Sawali, 21, was arrested for distributing posters that read "Gay Rights Are Human Rights" along roads and in townships, according to Agence France-Presse. The signs were apparently made in response to the arrest of two young men who held a marriage ceremony in December.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, and Steven Monjeza, 26, were subsequently arrested and charged with gross indecency. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charge.

According to a police spokeswoman, Sawali may be charged with "conduct likely to cause breach of peace."

Malawi government officials have defended the arrest of Chimbalanga and Monjeza. "We are a sovereign country with [our] own laws," Information Minister Leckford Thotho said in a statement. "Our laws criminalize homosexuality and what the two did was clearly breaking the laws of Malawi."

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