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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