Zambian activist must stand trial for opposing anti-gay law

Published: September 13, 2013

 The Lusaka High Court in Zambia yesterday rejected an appeal by AIDS activist Paul Kasonkomona, who is charged with “soliciting for immoral purposes” because he said on television last spring that Zambia should repeal its law against homosexual activity.

 
Such laws in 38 African countries and 76-plus countries worldwide obstruct the fight against HIV/AIDS because they categorize LGBT patients as criminals, who are unlikely to be welcomed at health clinics, while at the same time discouraging LGBT people from revealing their sexual behavior to medical professionals, even if those activities put them at risk of HIV infection.
 
An article in the Times of Zambia and in the Lusaka Voice reported that in a Sept. 12 ruling High Court Judge Anne Sharpe Phiri said the charge against Kasonkomona did not conflict with his constitutional rights. The article said that “Section 178 (g) of the Penal Code referred to a person being ‘idle and disorderly’ by soliciting for immoral purposes whereas Article 20 of the Constitution referred to the fundamental freedoms of expression.”
 
“The two issues are different,” she said.
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