A verdict has been delayed in the trial of two young Zambian men who have been imprisoned for more than a year on homosexuality charges.
The trial had been scheduled to end May 30, but it was delayed, reportedly until June 23.
Defendants Philip Mubiana and James Mwape of rural Kapiri Mposhi have been in custody since May 6, 2013. They were arrested after family members reported them to police in response to a nationwide appeal to Zambian citizens to inform on alleged homosexuals. The men’s repeated applications for bail have been rejected.
Human rights organizations have been providing legal services and food to Mubiana and Mwape.
“How many more lives will be ruined before Zambians realize that criminalization of individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation is a violation of their fundamental human rights?” Juliet Mphande, executive director of Friends of Rainka, said earlier. “It’s time for all right-thinking Zambians to help curb this oppression of minorities.”
In the six months after the men’s arrest, Friends of Rainka tallied 43 LGBT-related violations of people’s rights. At least two other suspected same-sex couples have been arrested; at least one couple is also on trial.