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U.N. Chief Denounces Malawi Sentencing

U.N. Chief Denounces Malawi Sentencing

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United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called the sentencing of a gay couple in Malawi to 14 years in prison "blatantly discriminatory" in a statement that also called for a repeal of their convictions and reform of laws that criminalize homosexuality.

"I am shocked and dismayed by the sentence and reports of the treatment of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga while in detention," said Pillay, according to the UN News Service.

"The law which enabled the conviction dates back to the colonial era and has lain dormant for a number of years -- rightly so, because it is discriminatory and has the effect of criminalizing and stigmatizing people based on perceptions of their identity," she said.

Commissioner Pillay expressed concern that the conviction and sentencing could be copied by other countries, and complicate the work of HIV/AIDS organizations in Africa and beyond, the UN News Service reported.

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