South African bishops call for the release of Malawian same-sex couple

By staff writers
May 27, 2010

Southern Africa's Anglican bishops have called on the government of South Africa to press for the release of two Malawian men jailed after sharing a traditional ceremony of engagement in a same sex relationship.

"We, the bishops of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa call upon the government of South Africa to seek the release of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who were recently sentenced in Malawi to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour, after they shared in a traditional ceremony of engagement," the bishops said on 26 May 2010.

The Anglican leaders called on South African President Jacob Zuma and his government to lobby the Malawian government at every level to uphold the commitment it shares through the treaty of the 15-nation Southern Africa Development Community to promote human rights.

The men have also received support from the former Anglican Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler, and by other Christians in Britain.

A protest is being organised outside the Malawian diplomatic building in London on Saturday 29 May 2010, at 2pm.

The 14-year hard labour sentence was handed down on 20 May in Blantyre, Malawi. The authorities have since announced that the men will be split up in two jails, a move condemned by human rights advocates as "cruel and vindictive".

With thanks to ENI


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