- Detained gay couple in Malawi has taken their case to the Constitutional Court arguing that their detention violated their legally protected rights.
Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20 who married in a symbolic traditional ceremony on 26 December were arrested on 28 December and charged with gross public indecency.
Lawyers for the two men filed court papers on Monday requesting a review of the law banning homosexuality, saying it infringes on the rights of the two men.
The couple's defence team said their clients were arrested on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation which they argue amounts to discrimination, a violation of their rights to freedom of expression, conscience and expression as enshrined in our republican constitution.
Chief resident magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwausiwa, presiding over a case that has generated widespread public debate in the country, agreed with the plea for a constitutional review but ruled the case could be moved to the constitutional court only with the consent of the chief justice.
Last week Amnesty International appealed for the release of the first Malawian gay couple to wed in the Southern Africa state.
The two suspects who appeared before the court on 30 December, were denied bail by the Blantyre Magistrate court on Monday for what was called their security and in the interest of natural justice.
Amnesty International statement said the detention of the two men amounts to discrimination and it is in violation of their rights to freedom of conscience, expression and privacy.
The authorities recognise the existence of gays in Malawi and often call on them to come out in order to help fight AIDS in a country where 12 percent of adults have HIV.
Mr Monjeza and Mr Chimbalanga's love affair has shocked the conservative nation where homosexuality is banned by the law. They face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison if convicted.
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