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Gay Zambia couple deny sodomy

09 May 2013, 11:42

Lusaka - Two Zambian men accused of sodomy pleaded not guilty in a high profile court appearance on Wednesday, an official said.

Philip Mubiana, 21, and James Mwape, 20, were charged with having sexual relations between 11 and 25 April, after the first known arrest of a gay couple in the southern African country.

"I understand the charge and I plead not guilty," the court official quoted Mwape as saying.

Mubiana also pleaded not guilty in the magistrates court in Kapiri Mposhi, a small town 211km north of the capital Lusaka.

The men were arrested on Monday after Mubiana's relatives reported them.

Police allege that Mubiana played a female role in the relationship and had at times dressed as a woman.

Their trial will start 22 May.

Conviction for sodomy in Zambia carries a jail term of up to 14 years.

Last month rights activist Paul Kasonkomona was arrested for appearing on television demanding the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the deeply conservative country.



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