A magistrate in Zambia on Tuesday acquitted a gay rights activist charged with an offence against public morality over comments he made on television in support of homosexuals.
Magistrate Lameck Ng’ambi found the government failed to prove its case against Paul Kasonkomona.
The court ruling in Zambia came a day after the president of Uganda signed a law imposing harsh penalties for homosexuality, defying criticism from rights groups and Western donors.
In April 2013, Kasonkomona was arrested after he appeared on a television programme where he spoke about the need to recognise the rights of vulnerable groups such as homosexuals to tackle the Aids epidemic in Africa.
He had been released on bail pending the court hearing.
"He was charged with idle and disorderly conduct and soliciting for immoral acts in public, but we argued that he was not soliciting for any immoral act," Kasonkomona’s lawyer, Sunday Nkonde, said.
As in many African countries, homosexuality is illegal in Zambia under a judicial code that penalises "unnatural acts" or sexual relations "against the order of nature", and it is punishable by a jail term of up to 14 years in prison.
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