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Zambia: Update on trial of two men accused of “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”

6 September, 2013

Anneke Meerkotter

On 10 and 11 June 2013 the prosecution led its first four witnesses in the criminal case of two men from Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. The men have been charged under section 155 of the Zambian Penal Code which states that any person who (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or (c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature; commits a felony and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for at least fifteen years to life. The two men have been in custody since 5 May 2013. They face ongoing harassment from fellow inmates at Mpima Remand Facility in Kabwe due to the charges against them.

The media interest in the case has been overwhelming, and many newspapers have printed elaborate stories about the two men, ranging from them being engaged to them having been found “in the act”. These stories are quite different from those related by the prosecution’s own witnesses. The Magistrate warned journalists about false reporting after the defence counsel placed before the court a news report which appeared the previous day.

On 10 June the prosecution called its first witness, the complainant and a sister of one of the accused. Her testimony did not show any cause for the charges against the two accused. The second witness, a neighbour, was also vague and added nothing to the prosecution’s case. These witnesses mentioned that, when the accused were arrested and taken to the police station, one of them was examined by the police to determine his sex. A police officer who testified for the prosecution today denied such examination.The arresting police officer admitted that proper procedures for dealing with arrested persons were not followed when the accused were brought to the police station. A confession that the police officer wanted to produce as evidence was voluntarily retracted by the prosecution. The fourth prosecution witness was a man from the community who testified about the circumstances surrounding the arrest of the two accused, who were in a bar at the time. The witness admitted that he had only been briefed by the prosecution a day earlier and his evidence also did not contribute anything to the prosecution’s argument.

The trial was then postponed to 28 and 29 August 2013. On 28 August 2013, only one prosecution witness was available to testify, a neighbour. The case was then postponed to 16 September 2013 for the prosecution to secure their remaining witnesses. The accused are represented by Sunday Nkonde SC from SBN Legal Practitioners and supported by SALC and Friends of Rainka.

Any new information on the case will be posted on this website.

 

 

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