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We Beg Your Pardon?

Posted on May 29, 2010
Flickr / GaijinSeb

A woman holds a newspaper showing the arrest of the Malawi couple in December 2009.

Waves of international outrage have led to the pardoning and release of two gay men in Malawi after the couple dared to symbolically wed in public and were subsequently given hefty 14-year jail terms earlier this month.

Malawi’s president, Bingu Wa Mutharika, pardoned Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga after a visit from U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and intensive pressure from aid donors for the couple’s release.

Mutharika’s pardon did not recognize homosexuality, but rather reaffirmed the country’s homophobic policy while releasing the pair on “humanitarian grounds.” —JCL

The BBC:

A gay couple jailed in Malawi after getting engaged have been pardoned by President Bingu Wa Mutharika.

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

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were given 14-year jail terms earlier this month after being convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts.

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

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By cul heath, May 30, 2010 at 4:30 am Link to this comment
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What an incredible turnaround.
I don’t doubt the pardon came on the heels on pressure from the international community and threats to the funding that Malawi heavily depends on. After all, if it’s true that the men were pardoned as an act of humanitarianism as claimed by Malawi government spokesmen, then why cannot that sense of humanitarianism be extended to all the other gays in Malawi and the witch hunt mentality so prevalent there today be ended?

Regarding rollzone’s comments:
Try to get a life where your moralizing doesn’t amount to self deprecation and generation of problems which exist only because of your mental perspectives.

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By temporary, May 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thats an absolutely horrible colour for her fingernails.

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By rollzone, May 29, 2010 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

hello. well, yes i would care if they consummated in public. i am so morally homophobic, that if i was witness to such immorality in public: it all depends here on the actual act- but someone is getting a pound of flesh cut off: and it would not be me. exposing youth to immorality is not progressive nor liberating nor appropriate education- it is only immoral. keep it private, fight your government for privacy- do not expect to put it on public display and not suffer my consequences for it, and pray i am having an otherwise enjoyable day. as for the UN movement of humanitarianism- they really set their goals low; and this is better than stealing and reselling relief food.

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By Leefeller, May 29, 2010 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

I like waves of international outrage, I find it almost as fun as national outrage.

What is the big deal if a couple gay or not gets married in public?  Far as care they can consummate the marriage in public.

Outrage is more fun for people, kinda keeps their minds off real problems like oil gushing from the bottom of the ocean or bombs dropping on their houses or the feeling of bending over and spreading them for the jolly big corporations.

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