Malawi suspends anti-gay laws

LILONGWE Mon Nov 5, 2012 4:42pm IST

Related Topics

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)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

UKRAINE CRISIS

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Pakistan Turmoil

Pakistan Turmoil

Pakistan parliament backs embattled prime minister as crisis deepens.  Full Article 

Gaza Conflict

Gaza Conflict

End of Gaza war doesn't translate into peace  Full Article 

Photo

Hamas vs Fatah

Hamas popularity surges as Palestinian rivalry flares  Full Article 

Scottish Independence

Scottish Independence

UK's fate in the balance as poll shows record support for Scottish independence  Full Article 

Syria Aid

Syria Aid

Record 4.1 million in Syria got food aid in August, U.N. says  Full Article 

NATO Deployment

NATO Deployment

Afghan turmoil threatens NATO's "mission accomplished" plans  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage