KAPIRIRI GAY COUPLE LONG TERM CUSTODY SADDENS US & GERMAN EMBASSY

Judgement in the case involving two men of Kapiri Mposhi allegedly practising homosexuality could not be delivered yesterday, for a third time, because the trying magistrate was indisposed.

And the United States (US) and German embassies and the UNAIDS are, however, unhappy that Philip Mubiana, a hair dresser, and his alleged partner James Mwape, a brick-layer, have been in custody for a long time.

Kapiri Mposhi magistrate in charge Ackson Mumba yesterday said he was aware that Kabwe Principal Resident Magistrate John Mbuzi was expected to deliver his judgement but he was indisposed.

Mr Mumba said Mr Mbuzi indicated that he would be ready to deliver his judgment on July 10 this year.
“He asked me to find a suitable day. From the look of things, judgement is ready but somehow he is indisposed,” he said.

The accused’s lawyer, Sunday Nkonde, however, told the court that July 10 was not suitable for him and asked if judgment could be delivered at 10:30 hours on July 3.

Mr Nkonde also said he was only aware that Mr Mbuzi was indisposed around 08:40 hours after the prosecution informed him.
Earlier, public prosecutor Alex Cheelo said Mubiana and Mwape were appearing in court for judgement.

“The two accused persons are here. It is a matter coming before the PRM [principal resident magistrate]. It is scheduled for judgement today,” Mr Cheelo said.

“However, since the trial court is not coming, we are applying that this matter be mentioned by this [Mr Mumba’s] court,” he said.
After hearing from both the prosecution and defence, Mr Mumba told Mubiana and Mwape that Mr Mbuzi was indisposed and he had adjourned delivery of judgement to July 3 next week.

Mr Mumba later had a meeting with Mr Nkonde in his chambers.

After the adjournment, United States embassy Charge d’Affaires David Young, German ambassador to Zambia Bernd Finke and UNAIDS country director Helen Frary expressed disappointment at the adjournments.

“Unfortunately, the case has been adjourned without a decision. They [Mubiana and Mwape] have been held for over a year without bail.

“We believe that is unfortunate,” Mr Young said in a joint statement.
The two men, both aged 21, were charged with offences of having sex against the order of nature, contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

In count one, Mubiana allegedly permitted Mwape, between April 11 and April 25 last year to have sex with him against the order of nature.
In count two, it is alleged that Mwape, on unknown dates but between April 11 and April 24 last year, permitted Mubiana to have sex with him against the order of nature.

In count three, Mwape is accused of having permitted Mubiana to have sex with him on May 5 last year while Mubiana also faces the same offence in count four.

The two have denied any wrong-doing, but Mr Mbuzi in March this year found them with a case to answer and put them on their defense.

They were arrested in April last year and have been in custody since then.
The court denied them bail after the State countered the defence application for bail.

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