A gay male couple has been sentenced to
15 years in prison under Zambia's colonial-era law that prohibits gay
U.S. Ambassador Daniel Foote said in a
statement that the was “horrified” by the sentence.
“I was personally horrified to read
yesterday about the sentencing of two men, who had a consensual
relationship, which hurt absolutely no one, to 15 years imprisonment
for ‘crimes against the order of nature,'” said
Foote. “Meanwhile, government officials can steal millions of
public dollars without prosecution, political cadres can beat
innocent citizens for expressing their opinions with no consequences,
or poachers/traffickers can kill numerous elephants, barbarically
chainsaw and sell their tusks and face a maximum of only five years
imprisonment in Zambia.”
“Decisions like this oppressive
sentencing do untold damage to Zambia’s international reputation by
demonstrating that human rights in Zambia is not a universal
guarantee,” Foote continued. “They perpetuate persecution against
disenfranchised groups and minorities, such as people from other
tribes or political affiliations, albinos, the disabled, our lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) brothers and sisters,
and everyone who is deemed ‘different.'”
According to local media reports, the
couple was caught having sex in a lodge in the town of Kapiri Mposhi.
The Zambian government criticized
Foote's comments and accused him of meddling in the nation's internal
affairs, the AP reported.
Foote said that he had received
Zambia is among the more than 70
nations where consensual gay sex is criminalized.