Zimbabwe Lawyers Battle To Have Gay Rights Employees Released

In their application lawyers from rights group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), requested the Officer in Charge of CID Drugs only identified as Chibvuma and Detective Inspector Gomo to release the two GALZ employees Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Muhambi from the custody of the police because their arrest and detention was unlawful.

The lawyers argue that the arrest and detention of the two GALZ employees was now beyond the statutory 48 hour period provided for by Section 32 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07).

Chademana and Muhambi were arrested last Friday and charged with being in possession of obscene, indecent  or prohibited articles in breach of Section 26 (1) (b) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act chapter 10:04.

On Monday the police also charged the two with contravening Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe. The police alleged that Chademana and Muhambi displayed a plaque of former San Francisco Mayor Willie Lewis Brown, Jr in their office in which the African-American denounces President Robert Mugabe’s homophobia against gays and lesbians.

Meanwhile CNN reported that one of two gay men jailed in Malawi after they got engaged had been transferred to another prison.

It said it was not clear why Steven Mojenza was moved from Chichiri prison, where he had been serving time with his partner, Tiwonge Chimbalanga. The pair was sentenced last week to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of gross indecency and unnatural acts.

Though in separate cells at Chichiri, the men were able to see each other briefly “from time to time,” said Peter Tatchell, a London-based gay rights activist who has been advocating for the men.

Gift Trapence, executive director of the Malawi-based human rights group Center for the Development of People, visited Chimbalanga in prison Wednesday and said Mojenza was not the only prisoner who was moved to another facility.

Trapence said he planned to visit Mojenza at the new prison Thursday and would learn more then. Radio VOP/CNN