Sunday, January 10, 2010

Malawi gays complain of police torture, media, society prejudice

The bail application hearing of two Malawian gays Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza arrested on Monday of holding the first public engagement between members of the same sex ended into a mixture of drama and emotions on Wednesday.
Some single women that stormed the court premises after the bail ruling was shifted for Monday ridiculed the two of staging of such an engagement when there were many single women ‘desperately’ looking for men to no avail.
One emotionally charged woman who identified her self as Memory Chamawa almost went into fits with obscene ridicules to the two saying they needed mental attention.
The two that are awaiting bail ruling in what is expected to be a controversial human rights landmark case have since complained of police torture and prejudice by the media and the general Malawian society.
Tiwonge told the media police at Blantyre police were beating them as if they had done a criminal offence yet they were just trying to open up as gays.
Said Tiwonge; “The police severely beat us as if we had done a criminal offence, they have been ridiculing us as if we are social outcasts and we are now only leaving the challenge to our lawyers”.
Tiwonge, who has been providing for the family since the two started cohabiting six months ago, also blamed the media for the way they were negatively reporting on their affair.
He said some journalists had been coming to them with obvious questions that indicated that they had previously judged them to be in the wrong.
Tiwonge said she saw nothing wrong with the engagement and condemned the media for making her partner Steven to chicken out and announce that he was planning a separation.
“The media are coming to us with condemning questions just as the church is condemning us for coming in the open on our gay status while the truth was that a lot of peole male and female were engaging in same sex affairs in Malawi,” he said.
Noel Supedi of Edgar and David the law firm representing the two said it was unprofessional for the media to put their own emotions in the coverage of the case, as meanwhile his clients were still innocent until proven guilty.
He could however not disclose the defence grounds they have in the case that attracts a 14-year jail term.
Meanwhile the Malawi Gay Rights Movement (Magrim) has assured Malawian gays and lesbians that the match planned for Friday will start at the planned time.
Magrim publicist Wongani Phiri said in an interview the Malawian gay and lesbian community was encouraged by the generosity that Edgar and David law consulting firm had shown to represent the two.
He has since appealed to well-wishers to support the two both emotionally and financially.

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