- A High court in Malawi has upheld the ruling the lower court by denying bail to the country's first and newly-wed gay couple, citing concerns over their safety.
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.
Judge Rowland Mbvundula said the state is concerned about and interested in the applicants' safety and justified to be wary of releasing them into the community. Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi.
The lower court charged the couple with three counts of buggery or unnatural acts between males and gross indecency, felonies, contrary to the country’s penal code that is likely to sent the couple to 14 years in prison.
The two suspects who appeared before the court on 30 December, were denied bail by the Blantyre Magistrate court for what was called their security and in the interest of natural justice.
In mid January, detained gay couple had announced that they were taking their case to the Constitutional Court arguing that their detention violated their legally protected rights.
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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