The South Africa Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (SA GLAAD) has drafted a protest e-mail regarding Malawi’s arrest, remand, conviction, sentencing and incarceration of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, Amnesty International’s prisoners of conscience.
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Subject: Free Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza now
- Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were disingenuously convicted of a supposed indecent act: Daring to hold a symbolic marriage ceremony.
- The law under which they were convicted is a remnant from the Western colonial era.
- The pair has been adopted as “prisoners of conscience” by Amnesty International. The governments of Great Britain and the United States of America, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, have vocally opposed the conviction. The UNHCR said that protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a fundamental human right that cannot be overruled on cultural grounds.
- The sentence is inhumane. The refusal of bail and the remand of Steven and Tiwonge are abhorrent.
- It is time for Malawi to rid itself from the defunct colonial codified discriminations and human rights oppressions.
On these bases, Malawi has no ethical or cultural justification for continuing to incarcerate these men and others like them.