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Trial of Zambia gay rights activist delayed

15 May 2013, 13:00

Lusaka - The high profile trial of prominent Zambian gay rights activist Paul Kasonkomona was delayed on Wednesday, after his lawyer argued the charges were vague and should be heard by the High Court.

Kasonkomona, 38, was arrested last month and charged with "soliciting for immoral purposes" after appearing on a live television programme where he argued for gay rights.

That was interpreted as promoting homosexuality.

Kasonkomona pleaded not guilty to the charge.

His lawyer, Sunday Nkonde, argued in court Wednesday that there was no clear legal definition of what constitutes "immoral purposes".

"We humbly pray that this is a fit and proper case for reference to the high court of Zambia to determine the constitutionality of the issues raised," Nkonde said.

Magistrate Lameck Ngambi adjourned the matter to June 4 to allow the state to respond to the application by Kasonkomona's lawyers.

Kasonkomona's arrest outraged human rights groups, which had been calling for his immediate release and for the "spurious" charges against him to be dropped.

Homosexuality is outlawed in Zambia, as in most African countries, and discrimination against gays and lesbians is rife.



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