By Paul Canning
The Malawian gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza have received fourteen years imprisonment - the maximum - for loving each other from magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa.
LGBT Asylum News has obtained a copy of his judgment.
Judgment against Malawi couple
A number of governments have condemned Malawi. Britain said:
"We are deeply dismayed by the conviction for buggery and indecent practices of Mr Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Mr Steven Monjeza. We are also very concerned by the allegations of their mistreatment in police custody."The White House said in a statement:
"The conviction and sentencing to the maximum 14 years' imprisonment of Mr Chimbalanga and Mr Monjeza runs counter to a positive trend. The UK urges the government of Malawi to review its laws to ensure the defence of human rights for all, without discrimination on any grounds."
"The United States strongly condemns the conviction and harsh sentencing of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Malawi. The criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity is unconscionable, and this case mars the human rights record of Malawi. We urge Malawi and all countries to stop using sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for arrest, detention, or execution."South Africa's Lesbian + Bisexual Transgender Advocacy Group wants their government to offer the couple asylum.
A petition to the Washington DC Malawian Ambassador has been set up:
Peter Tatchell issued a plea for action in support of them:
There are three things people can do:
Send a letter or postcard of support to Steven and Tiwonge. In this difficult time, they need to know that people around the world love and support them. Get all your friends to do the same. Write to:
Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, Prisoners, Chichiri Prison, P.O.Box 30117, Blantyre 3, Malawi
Email your MP and all your MEPs via this website: www.writetothem.com
Ask your MP and MEPs to protest to the Malawian High Commission in London, and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 564, which protests against the prosecution of Tiwonge and Steven. See here:
Make a donation by post or BACS electronic transfer to OutRage!'s Malawi Defence Campaign. OutRage! will use all money donated to support Tiwonge and Steven with food parcels, medicine, clothes, blankets etc. and to help fund the campaign for their release.
By BACS electronic transfer:
Account name: OutRage!
Bank: Alliance and Leicester Commercial Bank, Bootle, Merseyside, GIR 0AA, England, UK
Account number: 77809302
Sort code: 72-00-01
For electronic transfers from overseas (outside the UK), please
ADDITIONALLY quote this code:
Write a cheque payable to “OutRage!” and send to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT. Enclose a note giving your name and address and stating that your donation is for the Malawi Defence campaign.