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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Malawi gay couple choose silence in court, decision expected May 18

Source: The Daily Times

By Theresa Chapulapula

The suspected gay couple of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza Tuesday invoked their right to remain silent in a case in which they are answering charges of buggery and gross indecency.

The two told Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwausiwa that they have chosen to remain silent and will just file their defense. The magistrate has reserved the ruling on the matter to May 18.

The two, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, were Tuesday expected to start defending themselves after the court ruled that they have a case to answer on all counts on March 21.

The two were arrested on December 28 last year just a few days after holding a public engagement at a lodge along Chileka Road in Blantyre.

During yesterday’s court session the state through Dickens Mwambazi indicated that the state was ready for court proceedings. But a lawyer representing the suspected gay couple Noel Supedi sitting in for Mauya Msuku told the court that the couple decided to remain silent.

“The defense will not parade any witness. They have decided to remain silent,’’ Supedi stated. He however asked for two weeks to file submissions on the matter.

Another State Prosecutor Fostino Maele told the court that they needed two weeks after being served with the submissions from defense to file theirs. Usiwausiwa allowed both parties to file their submission within the stated period.

“Make sure that the submissions have been filed in the stated period. If you don’t file the court will proceed to deliver its verdict on May 18,” the magistrate concluded.

As usual a crowd of people gathered at the court to see the couple and some were peeping through the window as proceedings were underway. It took the Police Mobile Force Officers who were providing security at the court to chase the crowd. Chimbalanga popularly known as Aunt Tiwo continued amazing people as he continued displaying his effeminate flirting characteristics.

International observers also attended the court hearing that took less than 15 minutes.
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