Malawi suspends anti-gay laws
LILONGWE (Reuters) - Malawi suspended laws against same-sex relationships on Monday and ordered police not to arrest gays pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation, a source of friction with the impoverished southern African nation's donors.
Homosexuality is banned in Malawi - as it is in 36 other African states - and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, but Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara said he wanted debate on the issue before parliament decided whether to keep the laws or not.
"If we continue arresting and prosecuting people based on the said laws and later such laws are found to be unconstitutional it would be an embarrassment to government," he told Reuters.
"It is better to let one criminal get away with it rather than throw a lot of innocent people in jail."
In 2009, two men were arrested and charged with public indecency after becoming the first gay couple to marry in the socially conservative former British colony.
The prosecution drew international condemnation and was one of the reasons Western donors withdrew budget support to the government of Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in April.
A recent report presented to Mutharika's successor, Joyce Banda, recommended decriminalisation of same-sex marriages as a way of helping the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS. (Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Ed Cropley)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- UPDATE 11-Total CEO de Margerie killed in Moscow as jet hits snow plough
- UPDATE 3-Ocwen shares slide after NY finds backdated foreclosure letters
- Indiana police charge suspect who may have killed for decades
- Total CEO de Margerie killed in Moscow as jet hits snow plough
- UPDATE 2-Tough U.S. rivalries, China food scandal pound McDonald's
Fighting the Islamic State
Islamic State militants advanced on Iraq's Sinjar mountain on Tuesday, tightening a siege of thousands of stranded Yazidis, who called on the United States and its allies to act to avert more bloodshed. Full Article
- India says Islamic State not yet a threat
- Consumed by Islamic State, Iraq's Anbar province a key battleground again
- Video: Video claims to show U.S. military aid in Islamic State hands
- Islamic State wins ground from Syrian government in east - monitor
- UN warns purely military response in Syria could fuel extremism