Zambian trans woman convicted, faces 15 years to life

Map shows location of Mongu in western Zambia. (Map courtesy of

Map shows location of Mongu in western Zambia. (Map courtesy of

A trans woman in Mongu, western Zambia, was found guilty last week of permitting a man to have carnal knowledge of her “against the order of nature.”

In Zambia, that is a crime punishable by a prison sentence of 15 years to life under Section 155 (c) of  the Zambian Penal Code. She plans to appeal.

Hatch Bril, 27, a hairdresser in Mongu, had pleaded innocent to the sodomy charge, which was filed after taxi driver Abraham Chilemu, 19, complained to police about Bril, saying that she had deceived him into sex on the night of Oct. 24.

Bril said that Chilemu had forced her to have sex with him, but the magistrate rejected that account.

Magistrate Derrick Mate Chingumbe announced his verdict on Oct. 28, then deferred the case to the High Court for sentencing, because the range of potential prison sentences for Bril is higher than what a magistrate has the authority to impose.

Zambia's location in southern Africa

Zambia’s location in southern Africa

The magistrate accepted the taxi driver’s statement to police that Bril had  inserted Chilemu’s penis into Bril’s anus.  The magistrate also said there was no evidence of a rape, such as blood stains, torn clothing or signs of a struggle.

Bril’s clothing was entered into evidence — bracelets, makeup, a bra, leggings, and hair extensions. On the basis of those and photos of Bril taken by Chilemu, the magistrate concluded that Chilemu was deceived by Bril into believing that Bril  was a woman.

Bril was forced to undergo an anal examination — a procedure that LGBTI activists categorize as a form of torture and criticize as an unreliable indicator of whether anal intercourse took place.

In Bril’s case, the medical examiner reported that he spotted some cuts in Bril’s anus, which the magistrate cited as evidence that an illegal sexual act had taken place.

Chilemu apparently was a willing participant in the encounter, but does not face criminal charges.

The Zambia Daily Mail reported that “the court heard that Bril deceived the teenager in what was love at first sight in a bar as he was dressed and appeared like a woman on the material day. Magistrate Derrick Mate Chingumbe said he had no doubt that Bril committed the offence because the evidence given by the teenager to court was overwhelming.”

The Daily Mail quoted Chingumbe as saying that Chilemu “was made to
believe that he was actually going to sleep with a woman and a woman only because of the way he [Bril] was dressed, and he had long hair.”

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3 thoughts on “Zambian trans woman convicted, faces 15 years to life

  1. This is so sad and disgusting, as from what I read in local papers it sounded more like chilemu forced himself on bril. So in short the victim is now being locked up, and the story went quiet in local media once it went to court.


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