Saturday, May 29, 2010

(BBC) Malawi pardons jailed gay couple

COMMENT - On the one hand, this is good news for the guys involved. At another level, this is a serious disappointment, not only because of the interference by 'donors' and western governments, but because it doesn't resolve anything. Now these laws cannot be tested, be found to be unconstitutional, and get struck off the books. I firmly believe that the Malawian legal process would have taken it's course, and because of this pardon, these laws will remain unchallenged and stay on the books. It is also an executive overreach. The President shouldn't randomly pardon people because he doesn't agree with a law. From the BBC:

Malawi pardons jailed gay couple

A gay couple who were jailed in Malawi have been pardoned by President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Mr Mutharika, speaking as UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited Lilongwe, said he had ordered their immediate release.

Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were given 14-year jail terms after being convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts.

The case has sparked international condemnation and a debate about homosexuality in the country.

Mr Ban said he welcomed the president's decision.

Correspondents say Malawi is a deeply conservative society where religious leaders equate same-sex liaisons with Satanism.

Mr Mutharika has himself dismissed homosexuality as alien.

But aid donors and human rights groups have been putting pressure on his government to respect the rights of minority groups.

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