Malawi Court Annuls Government Suspension of Anti-Gay Laws

 

On Feb 12, 2014 Voice of America reported: BLANTYRE, MALAWI—
A high court in Malawi has ordered the annulment of a government moratorium issued in 2012 that suspended a law criminalizing homosexual acts. The government had suspended enforcement of the anti-gay laws pending parliamentary review after rights campaigners said the laws were unconstitutional.

The court’s order to enforce the anti-gay laws comes two months after government authorities ordered police to respect the moratorium by unconditionally pardoning two suspected gays who were arrested in December last year in the capital, Lilongwe.

Selective enforcement

Three pastors filed suit in the northern city of Mzuzu, saying that by pardoning the gay suspects, the government was applying the penal code selectively. They argued that the government’s suspension of the anti-homosexuality law was illegal.

“Our main arguments have been that the executive branch of government, the minister of justice, the director of public prosecutions and Malawi police service do not have the mandate to change the position of any law in the country,” argued George Kadzipatike, lawyer representing the three pastors.

He said only the Malawi parliament has the mandate to change or suspend any law in the country.

In Malawi, homosexuality is an offense punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

“And having regards to the penal code which prohibits acts of homosexuality in the country, that Act of Parliament was not amended or repealed in any way by the Malawi parliament,” he added. “So it is still in force and has to be applied.”

Read more at Malawi Court Annuls Government Suspension of Anti-Gay Laws.

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