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Startseite Urgent Actions 2013 05 Two men on trial for "unnatural" sex
UA 124/13
Abgeschlossen am 26. Juni 2013

Two men on trial for "unnatural" sex

AI-Index: AFR 63/001/2013

Two men in Zambia have been arrested on charges of having sex “against the order of nature”, and denied bail. They are detained and awaiting trial. They have been subjected to forcible anal examination.

On 6 May, police arrested Phil Mubiana and James Mwansa, both aged 21, in the village of Ndeke, in Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia's Central Province. Local sources have told Amnesty International that one of the men’s neighbours reported them to the police, and this led to the arrest, their second for alleged same-sex sexual conduct, which is considered a crime under Zambia’s penal code. The two men were first arrested on 25 April 2013, and were detained at Kapiri Mposhi police station, until 2 May, when they were released on bail.

Since the men were arrested for the second time the authorities have subjected them to anal examinations carried out by government doctors without their consent, and may also have forced them to make confessions to speed up the trial. They are being held at Mpima Remand Prison in Kabwe, the capital of Central Province, and are due to appear before the court on 22 May on charges of having sex “against the order of nature” under Section 155 of the Penal Code. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

The arrest of anyone for their real or perceived sexual orientation amounts to discrimination and is a violation of the rights to freedom of conscience, expression and privacy. Laws criminalizing homosexuality and gender identity criminalize the legitimate exercise of these rights, which are protected in treaties ratified by Zambia, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Anal examinations conducted without consent contravene the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under international law. Such examinations are in every case highly invasive, abusive, profoundly humiliating and conducted for reasons based on discrimination. In addition, forensic anal examinations have no value whatsoever in identifying consensual anal intercourse.

Additional Information

Same-sex sexual conduct is criminalised through Zambia’s penal code and within society homophobic attitudes remain deeply entrenched. The arrest of the two young men takes place just weeks after a human rights activist was arrested in the capital, Lusaka, after he appeared on television supporting LGBTI rights. He has since been released on bail.

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