World

Malawi stops enforcing antigay laws

BLANTYRE, Malawi — Going against a trend in Africa, Malawi’s government is moving to suspend laws against homosexuality and has ordered police not to arrest people for same-sex acts until the antigay laws are reviewed by Parliament.

Human Rights Watch called the decision courageous and said it should inspire other countries that criminalize homosexuality.

Advertisement

Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara said at a public debate on minority rights last week that the police have been ordered not to arrest anyone suspected of engaging in homosexuality. Anyone convicted under Malawi’s antigay laws, some of the toughest in the world, can get up to 14 years in jail with hard labor.

In May, President Joyce Banda announced that she wants to repeal Malawi’s laws against homosexual acts. Traditionalists and religious leaders condemned her, saying she was trying to please Western donor nations.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Kasambara said the suspension of arrests was ordered because ‘‘if we continue arresting and prosecuting people based on the said laws and later such laws are found to be unconstitutional it would be an embarrassment to government.’’

Associated Press

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com