Monday, 7 May 2018

Zambian Court Finds Suspected Gays With Case To Answer

James Mwape and Phillip Mubiana who were the first suspects
to be tried over homosexuality in Kapiri Mposhi in 2013.
By Paul Shalala in Kapiri Mposhi

A Magistrate's Court in the central Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi has found two men with a case to answer in a matter where they are accused of practicing homosexuality.

The small court room where the case was held this morning was fully packed with relatives and friends of the two men.

The two, 30 year old Steven Sambo and 38 years old Japhet Chataba have since been put on their defence pending judgement next month.

Passing ruling this morning, Kapiri Mposhi Magistrate Ackson Mumba said he found a prema facie case against the two in the matter which has so far taken eight months.

Magistrate Mumba said based on the evidence adduced by the Prosecution, he found the two with a case to answer.

Particulars of the offence are that Mr Chataba on 25 August 2017 had canal knowledge of Mr Sambo at Chanika Lodge in Kapiri Mposhi. 

The two were on the particular day arrested by Police officers at the lodge and later charged with performing unnatural acts contrary to Section 155 of the Penal Code.

In his ruling, Magistrate Mumba said five prosecution witnesses explained how the two men booked a room at the lodge and later bought condoms at the bar before having sex.

During trial, the supervisor at the lodge testified in court that she saw through the window of the booked room how the two were having sex and Mr Sambo got tired and ran out of the room but was dragged back into the room by Mr Chataba.

The Prosecution produced a video and pictures showing Mr Chataba, who was wearing a pant, dragging Mr Sambo back into the room.

In the video, Mr Sambo was seen wearing a jean as he shouted for help from onlookers but was overpowered by Mr Chataba who closed the door, locking themselves inside.

However, Magistrate Mumba said even though the videos and pictures showed what transpired, they did not contain dates and times when the alleged acts where committed.

A medical doctor who examined the two accused persons found that the results from the tests were not consistent with the allegations laid against them.

The doctor however found that one of the suspects had a reduction in the size of his anus and recommended that the Police do investigate the matter further.

After the ruling, the accused persons through their lawyer Daniel Libati of Abha Patel and Associates of Ndola, informed the court that they will remain silent for the rest of the case.

Magistrate Mumba then set 21 June 2018 as the day he will deliver judgement in the matter.

Both the defence and the prosecution have indicated that they will file written submissions before judgement day.

Mr Sambo and Mr Chataba are on bail and will appear before the court on 4th June, 2018 for mention. 

This is the second court case involving alleged sexual acts between men in Kapiri Mposhi in the past five years.

In May 2013, Phillip Mubiana and James Mwape where arrested in Kapiri Mposhi on alleged homosexuality.

The two men where remanded in custody without bail for over eight months but where later acquitted in 2014.

The case had earlier raised international interests, leading to a number of western diplomats attending the court cases.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia, a country whose constitution describes it as a "Christian nation."

In this deeply conservative Southern African country, homosexuality carries a jail term of 15 years. 

No comments:

Post a Comment