Gay arrests in Malawi: More mixed signals on gay rights

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12/19/2018

The southeast African country of Malawi remains torn about homosexuality — unwilling to repeal its anti-homosexuality law, but also unwilling to enforce it. This month’s arrest and subsequent release of a gay couple demonstrated the mixed signals that Malawi sends to its LGBT citizens.  The subject of LGBT rights has resurfaced on the front pages of Malawi’s media. Another [gay[ couple’s arrest – this time, that of Cuthbert Kulemeka and Kelvin Gonani – triggered media interest and public furor. Kulemeka and Gonani were arrested Dec. 7 under Section 153 of Malawi’s penal code that criminalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” – locally interpreted to mean sodomy. A sodomy conviction can bring a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment with hard labor in Malawi.

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