Johannesburg, 3 July 2014 – Today, two men accused of sodomy in May 2013 were finally acquitted by Magistrate John Mbuzi in the Kapiri Mposhi Magistrates Court, Zambia. The Magistrate’s ruling is a great relief for the two young men and their families. “The men are innocent and the court’s decision has confirmed this,” stated Anneke Meerkotter, lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which supported the case.
“The case should send a message to police, prosecutors and communities that it is not acceptable to witch-hunt people. Actions driven by stigma and prejudice can cause immense suffering, not just of the people who were arrested, but also of their families.”
The men were charged in terms of section 155 of the Zambian Penal Code which criminalises any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature and provides for a punishment of fifteen years to life imprisonment if convicted. The trial commenced in the Kapiri Mposhi Magistrate’s Court in June 2013 and was characterised by numerous postponements. The accused were represented by Sunday Nkonde SC from SBN Legal Practitioners.
“The enforcement of laws which criminalise consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex, inevitably leads to an unjustifiable and unnecessary invasion of persons’ privacy,” noted Meerkotter.
Issued by: The Southern Africa Litigation Centre
Further info: Anneke Meerkotter, SALC LGBT/Sex Work Project Lawyer; +27 (0)10 596 8538; +27 (0)72 234 4763; firstname.lastname@example.org