Malawi Broadcasting Corporation
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Court to decide on legality of same sex relationships in Malawi

The High Court’s Constitutional Court in Blantyre is this morning expected to deliver a ruling in a case where two applicants are challenging Malawi’s laws that criminalise same-sex relationships. MBC is broadcasting the court proceedings live.

Jan Willem Akster, who comes from Netherlands and Jana Gonani want the Constitutional Court to declare sections 153 and 154 of the Penal Code unconstitutional.

Section 153 reads: “Any person who— (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or (c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature; shall be guilty of a felony and shall be liable to imprisonment for 14 years.”

Section 154 stipulates: “Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in section 153 shall be guilty of a felony and shall be liable to imprisonment for seven years.”

Akster and Gonani were answering criminal charges in magistrate courts of sleeping with fellow men and brought the matter to the Constitutional Court.

Should the three-member panel of judges of the Court rule in favour of the applicants, it would mean the legalisation of same-sex relationships in Malawi.

The three judges are Joseph Chigona, Chimbigzani Kacheche and Vikocha Chima.

By Kondwani Chinele

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