Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Malawi Law Society advocates for fair trial for Monjeza and Chimbalanga

Source: African Activist

The Malawi Law Society, a professional body of 200 lawyers, have declared that same-sex couple Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga are not a threat to society and should be viewed as innocent unless proven guilty.
A new friend in the form of the Malawi Law Society (MLS) has got the back of jailed Malawi gay couple, Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga.

The MLS, a professional body of some 200 lawyers, has made an about turn, from saying the two broke the law to advocating for their freedom.

The society's secretary Jabbar Alide has told Malawi News that Monjeza and Chimbalanga were not a "danger to society".  When the two applied for bail, the Malawi High Court said the two were safer in prison than outside.

But Alide said all accused persons should be deemed innocent unless proven otherwise by the courts. The reasons given when they were refused bail were not "meritable" and not in line with the country’s constitution which was adopted in 1995 and guarantees the rights of all including gays.

The MLS secretary said the courts shouldn’t have ignored the issue of rights of minority groups.
On February 22, Malawi's Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo had turned down the request of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga's lawyers for a constitutional review of the charges against them for celebrating their love with a same-sex traditional ceremony.

The trial of Monjeza and Chimbalanga is set to begin on May 18th.
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