Malawi’s president, Bingu wa Mutharika, on Saturday pardoned a gay couple who had been sentenced to 14 years in prison after their conviction on charges of unnatural acts and gross indecency.
Their sentence, the maximum penalty allowed, was a consequence of the couple’s holding a traditional engagement ceremony in an insular nation where homosexuality is largely seen as nonexistent or something that must be suppressed.
The case had drawn international attention as another example of the broad antigay sentiment in Africa and was condemned by human rights groups worldwide.
“These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws; however, as the head of state I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for their immediate release with no conditions,” Mr. wa Mutharika said after meeting with the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, here in Malawi’s capital. “I have done this on humanitarian grounds but this does not mean that I support this,” he added
Source: The New York Times