Lusaka - The high-profile trial of a prominent Zambian gay
rights activist opened Tuesday with a police officer saying he had instructions
to arrest him during a live television programme.
Paul Kasonkomona, 38, was arrested in April and charged with
"soliciting for immoral purposes" after arguing for gay rights during
the television show.
His arguments were interpreted as promoting homosexuality,
which is illegal in the country.
"We were sent to go and apprehend Kasonkomona and we
obeyed those instructions," police officer Kalowa Mwanamwale told
magistrate Lameck Ngambi.
Kasonkomona pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The hearing was adjourned to 11 November after attempts to
play a recording of the television programme in court as part of the evidence
Zambian law has banned same-sex relationships since British
colonial rule, and a sodomy conviction carries a 14-year prison sentence.
Discrimination against gays and lesbians in the African country is rife.