Lusaka - A key witness in the trial of a prominent Zambian
gay rights activist on Monday denied hearing the defendant pressing for
same-sex marriages during a live television show.
Paul Kasonkomona, 38, is facing charges of "soliciting
for immoral purposes" following his arrest in April minutes after he
appeared on a privately-owned television station.
But a policeman who is the main witness for the state
appeared to exonerate Kasonkomona after a recording of the programme was
replayed as evidence in court on Monday.
"From the recording he did not agree that gay marriages
should take place in Zambia," policeman Kalowa Mwanamwale told magistrate
The prosecution had interpreted his statements during the
television discussion as promoting homosexuality, which is illegal in the
Kasonkomona pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The hearing was adjourned to 27 November to give the state
time to summon more witnesses.
Same-sex relationships are outlawed in Zambia and a sodomy
conviction carries a 14-year prison sentence.
Discrimination against gays and lesbians is also rife in the
southern African nation.