Justice delayed, justice denied for 2 in Zambian gay trial

Published: September 17, 2013

 Supporters of two young Zambian men facing homosexuality charges say the men are being denied a fair trial.

 
Philip Mubiana and James Mwape, who have been denied bail, have been jailed for five months while their trial is delayed again and again.
 
In the previous attempt at continuing the trial, on Aug. 28, the scheduled appearance by medical experts was postponed because the witnesses said they had other things to do.  Magistrate John Mbuzi warned the experts that they needed to come to court.
 
But at the next scheduled trial date, on Sept. 16, Mbuzi was absent. The courtroom was told that he was attending to an urgent family problem.
 
The trial might resume Sept. 23.
 
The defendants are charged with two counts each of “carnal knowledge of a person against the order of nature,” which can lead to a 14-year prison sentence.
 
No eyewitnesses have emerged who have testified that they saw the defendants engage in homosexual behavior.
 
Amnesty International called for the men’s release last week. The human rights group  noted:
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