Zambia court acquits gay rights activist

[JURIST] Gay rights and HIV activist Paul Kasonkomona was acquitted Tuesday by the Lusaka Magistrate's Court of charges of encouraging homosexuality. Kasonkomona, a well-known activist for LGBT rights in highly-conservative Zambia, where homosexuality is illegal, was arrested in April 2013 after speaking out on a television program for "soliciting in a public place for immoral purposes." The magistrate found [BBC report] that the state had failed to make a sufficient case against Kasonkomona and he was released. The ruling is seen as a victory for gay rights in Africa in the wake of increasing anti-homosexuality legislation.

Homosexuality is illegal in about 40 countries in Africa. Uganda, in particular, is facing controversy over a recently passed law that strengthens harsh penalties for homosexuality to include life in prison. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [official website] signed the bill into law [JURIST report] Monday. UN rights experts and human rights groups have condemned the legislation [press release] as a violation of basic human rights.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.